South Stream: Operational by 2016

May 15, 2009
(RIA Novosti ) - The South Stream pipeline to pump natural gas from Russia to the Balkans and onto Europe will be in operation by 2016, a source at energy giant Gazprom said Friday.

"The construction of South Stream is planned to be concluded no later than in 2015," an official said. "The overall investment required will be calculated on the basis of a comprehensive feasibility study."

The official also said Gazprom would finalize the route by the end of this year.

"Several routes and their possible branches are currently under discussion, which will be reduced as the feasibility study nears completion. By the end of 2009, we should have a clear vision of the most likely routes," he said.

The project, designed to annually pump to Europe 31 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian gas involves Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Greece.

The source also said South Stream and the Nord Stream project to build a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to deliver Russian gas directly to Germany would not make Europe dependent on Russian deliveries and thus do not threaten its energy independence.

"The widespread opinion that by building the Nord and South Streams, Russia virtually makes the EU dependent on its energy deliveries is ungrounded," the source said.

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