South Stream pipeline gets 2012 start date

Gazprom wants to begin building the ‘South Stream’ pipeline in December, a year earlier than planned. The Russian energy firm has announced it is rapidly speeding up the project. Gazprom […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Gazprom wants to begin building the ‘South Stream’ pipeline in December, a year earlier than planned. The Russian energy firm has announced it is rapidly speeding up the project.

Gazprom is touting the pipeline as a way of strengthening Europe’s energy security. It is designed to carry 63 million cubic meters of gas a year along a route which avoids Ukraine, a nation which has previously disrupted supply over disagreements with Moscow (pictured).

Alexei Miller, chairman of the firm’s board said: “We already have an international legal framework, huge interest of all participants in Europe, the necessary financial resources and the unique experience in implementing large-scale offshore gas transmission projects. The project is needed and awaited, and we are beginning to implement it.”

The pipeline will run across the Black Sea to Southern and Central Europe. Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria have signed intergovernmental agreements with Gazprom to implement the onshore part of the project.