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BELGRADE (Serbia), May 23 (SeeNews) - Serbia plans to build a natural gas pipeline connecting Belgrade to Banja Luka, the main city of neighbouring Bosnia's Serb Republic entity, Serbia's energy minister Aleksandar Antic said on Thursday.
The Belgrade-Banja Luka link will branch out from the gas transmission pipeline that Serbia is building from the border with Bulgaria to the border with Hungary as part of the TurkStream project of Russia's Gazprom, Antic said in a video file posted on the YouTube channel of the Novo Jutro programme of Serbian private TV station Pink.
"We plan a logical next step from this pipeline, the new Belgrade-Banja Luka project, a gas pipeline which would allow supplies to Bosnia and Herzegovina," Antic explained.
The pipeline will connect Belgrade and Banja Luka via Bijeljina, on the territory of the Serb Republic, one of the two autonomous entities that make up Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On Wednesday, the Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency, Milorad Dodik, said the Serb Republic is interested in joining TurkStream and will discuss the matter with Gazprom on June 2. The construction of a pipeline from Bijeljina, on the border with Serbia, to the Serb Republic's main city Banja Luka is one of the items on the agenda for his forthcoming visit to Russia, Dodik said.
"I think it will be relevant if [officials] in Sarajevo and the Federation also discuss this subject in order to strengthen gas supply to entire Bosnia," Dodik said.
In Serbia, the project for building a pipeline from the border with Bulgaria to the border with Hungary is carried out by Novi Sad-based Gastrans, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Swiss-based South Stream Serbia, according to data from Serbia's commercial register. Gazprom owns a 51% stake in South Stream Serbia, while state-owned Srbijagas holds the remaining 49%, according to Gazprom data.
Gazprom plans to build a string of its TurkStream pipeline for transit of Russian natural gas to Europe from Turkey via Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. The offshore section of the TurkStream pipeline stretching 930 km across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey consists of two parallel strings with annual throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas each. One string is intended for consumers in Turkey, while the second will carry gas to customers in Europe.