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Gazprom: South Stream vital for EU markets

Feb. 23, 2012 at 7:25 AM

MOSCOW, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Building the South Stream natural gas pipeline for Europe will give Gazprom the flexibility it needs to adapt to changing market conditions, an official said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke with Gazprom's top executive Alexei Miller about the expected benefits of the South Stream pipeline for Europe.

"It is a very timely project. Besides the evident growth in gas transit reliability, it will considerably enhance our capabilities to flexibly adapt to changes of demand for energy carriers in Europe," Miller said in a statement. "It is an important factor of Russian gas competitiveness in European markets."

Construction on South Stream is scheduled for December. The pipeline would split with arteries headed to southern Europe after passing through Turkish waters of the Black Sea.

Gazprom added that it finished a consolidated feasibility study for South Stream, which means all the studies for the offshore sections in the respective host nations are integrated.

Gazprom struggled to keep up with rising demand during a deadly cold snap that gripped much of Europe earlier this year.

Gazprom meets about one-quarter of Europe's natural gas needs, though 80 percent of that runs through Soviet-era transit networks in Ukraine.

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