LJUBLJANA, Slovenia, June 1 (UPI) -- Russia's Gazprom announced it signed an agreement with Slovenia to create a joint venture for the South Stream natural gas pipeline.
Alexei Miller, the top executive at Gazprom, met in Ljubljana with Slovenia Prime Minister Janez Jansa to discuss bilateral energy affairs and the implementation of the South Stream natural gas pipeline.
Russia aims to diversify its natural gas export routes to Europe through South Stream, which would move gas through the Turkish waters of the Black Sea to southern European markets.
Gazprom, in a statement, said documents were signed in Ljubljana that contain the articles of association of South Stream Slovenia LLC, a joint venture for the pipeline in the country.
"South Stream Slovenia LLC will deal with spatial planning, environmental impact assessment and basic design work," the energy company explained. "The shareholding in the company will be split on a parity basis between Gazprom and (Slovenian energy company) Plinovodi."
Gazprom in 2011 supplied Slovenia with 18 million cubic feet of natural gas under the terms of a contract that runs through 2017.
Construction on South Stream begins in December. First gas is expected at the end of 2015.