MOSCOW, June 4 (UPI) -- Russian natural gas company Gazprom aims to build two sections of the South Stream natural gas pipeline to Europe simultaneously, a director said.
Gazprom is gearing up for the December start to construction on the South Stream pipeline planned through the Black Sea.
Alexei Miller, the top executive at Gazprom, said construction on two parallel legs would get under way along the Black Sea floor.
"We plan to build two pipeline legs with a capacity of 547 billion cubic feet (of natural gas) each," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "They will be built in parallel."
There will be four total legs of the South Stream pipeline. The project is part of a transit diversification strategy from Gazprom, which sends the bulk of its natural gas through a transit network in Ukraine.
Payment and contractual disputes between Gazprom and Kiev make conventional routes risky. Gazprom in 2009 cut off the natural gas to Ukraine because of the woes.
South Stream would run along nearly the same route as European-backed pipelines that would cross from Central Asia through Turkey.
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