ROME, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Plans for the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline to Europe won't affect gas transit through conventional Russian export routes, a Gazprom official said.
Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller traveled to Italy with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Miller during his visit said new transit contracts for Nord Stream weren't likely to affect transit through Ukraine or Belarus.
"That is not an issue," he was quoted by Interfax-Ukraine as saying.
Gazprom is leading the project consortium building the dual natural gas pipeline from the Gulf of Finland through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The project is meant to diversify Gazprom's export options as about 80 percent of Russian gas for Europe travels through Ukraine currently.
Construction on the Nord Stream pipeline started in April and it will pass through economic zones in Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Matthias Warnig, the managing director of the Nord Stream consortium said in December that the first branch of the pipeline was on schedule to deliver gas to Europe by late 2011.