SARAJEVO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Bosnian gas distributor Gas-Res
and Russian oil and gas company Gazprom SPG agreed on Saturday
to form a joint venture that will build a liquefied natural gas
(LNG) plant in Bosnia's Serb-dominated region, according to a
regional television report.
The plant, which will be majority-owned and financed by
Gazprom SPG and built in the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik,
will cost an estimated 70 million euros ($82 million), officials
said during a signing ceremony in Banja Luka.
The president of Bosnia's Serb Republic region, Milorad
Dodik, said the factory would use Russian gas transported to
Zvornik via Serbia and would help to improve the security of
energy supplies to the region.
Russian officials said the energy produced could be used for
heating and in transportation, the broadcaster reported.
Bosnia, which is divided into two highly autonomous regions
- the Serb Republic and the Bosniak-Croat Federation - relies on
Russian supplies via Ukraine, Hungary and Serbia to get some 350
million cubic metres of gas that it needs per year.
A European energy regulator has warned the Balkan country -
which wants to join the European Union and access financial
support for its energy market - that it needs to pass a gas law
to comply with the bloc's energy regulations.
However, the Bosnian Serbs oppose having a national strategy
and want instead to pursue their autonomous energy policy. Dodik
is nourishing political and economic ties with Russia.
($1 = 0.8509 euros)
(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Mark Potter)
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