Bulgarian Environmental Impact Assessment for South Stream Offshore Pipeline Released
South Stream Transport has published the Bulgarian Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report. The EIA Report contains the findings of the environmental studies for the construction and operation of the Bulgarian Sector of the South Stream Offshore Pipeline, and concludes that the environment will not be significantly affected by the Project.
The EIA Report is the result of thorough research by a team of Bulgarian and international experts. Since 2009, more than 16,500 kilometres of environmental and cultural heritage surveys have been performed along the entire offshore route, including with the use of special sonar equipment and robotic underwater vehicles equipped with cameras. Surveys were also carried out to examine the short landfall section near Varna, including the shore crossing. With the help of this research, experts assessed the potential impacts of the pipeline on environmental, social and cultural heritage. They also identified measures to avoid or minimize any adverse impacts or to enhance any benefits, for example by sharing survey data with academic institutes for further research.
New construction technique will preserve Pasha Dere Beach
In previous consultations, people in Bulgaria expressed concerns about how construction of the pipeline could affect Pasha Dere Beach, at the landfall location near Varna. As part of the EIA, South Stream Transport has developed an alternative construction method. Instead of burying the pipeline under the beach, four micro-tunnels will be used to install the 4 pipelines underground. The tunnels, with a diameter of 2.4 metres, will pass approximately 20 metres below the beach, without any construction or digging works taking place at the surface.
Oleg Aksyutin, CEO of South Stream Transport: “We are using modern construction techniques to preserve the beach during construction. There will be no digging or construction works on the beach itself, and the tunnels will be entirely invisible.”
Stakeholders invited to take part in the public hearings
Interested stakeholders are invited to review the EIA Report and submit any comments to South Stream Transport until the end of December 2013. Comments will be considered in the finalisation of the EIA Report and the decision of Bulgarian authorities.
Public hearings will be organized so that people may learn about the Project and discuss their comments directly with South Stream Transport and the environmental experts. The following public hearings are planned:
• 19 December 2013, 16:00 hours
Archaeological Museum, 41 “Maria Luiza” Blvd, Varna town, Municipality of Varna
• 20 December, 16:00 hours
Priseltsi Community Centre, 29 “Tzentralna” str, village of Prisetsi, Municipality of Avren
This is the second round of public consultations for the South Stream Offshore Pipeline. In February 2013 public consultations were held to discuss the Scoping Report, containing preliminary results of the environmental impact assessment. The feedback gathered during these consultations has been considered in the development of the EIA Report. The EIA Report was prepared by the independent international company URS Infrastructure & Environment UK Ltd., based in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with two Bulgarian environmental consulting companies, POVVIK AD and Geomarine Ltd.
Press Release, November 19, 2013