The construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis Oil Pipeline is going to start in 2009, Sofia press reported Monday citing Stefan Gunchev, Head of the Political Cabinet of Bulgaria's Regional Development Ministry.

Gunchev announced that the speed of the execution of the project currently depends on the firms hired to perform the work.

In his words, a meeting of the executive directors of the firms executing the pipeline construction would take place in Russia's capital Moscow on June 10.

The directors are expected to select a business consultant and a firm to carry out the exploration work.

According to Gunchev, there would be more clarity on the project in five to six months after the preliminary exploration work was completed. Yet, he did point out the construction was expected to start a year from now, in June, 2009, and was expected to last one year.

The planned pipeline is supposed to transport Russian oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek Mediterranean port of Alexandroupolis.

However, the plans for its construction have alarmed the citizens in the cities and towns along its projected route because of the potential environmental destruction, and the effects on local tourism. Thus, the residents of the Bulgarian Black Sea resorts of Burgas and Sozopol have voted against in the pipeline in local referendums in the spring of 2008.

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