MOSCOW, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Russian natural gas company Gazprom expects to focus the bulk of its pipeline manufacturing on the South Stream project, Chairman Alexei Miller said.
Miller, meeting in Moscow with members of the pipeline manufacturing sector to discuss future projects, stressed that Gazprom needs to secure a reliable pipeline base to ensure reliable gas transmission.
Gazprom, he said, has new "megaprojects" ahead like South Stream that require cooperation from the manufacturing sector.
"We place higher demands on the pipes that will be used for the construction of these gas pipelines," he said in a statement.
Gazprom in late 2012 had a ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the South Stream pipeline, which would move Russian gas to southern Europe.
Doubts have emerged over the project's implementation, however. Marlene Holzner, a spokeswoman for European Energy Commissioner Gunter Oettinger, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in December that Gazprom hasn't offered any formal declaration about the pipeline's route.
South Stream is meant to diversify Russia's gas export options and avoid geopolitically sensitive transit routes in Ukraine. Europe aims to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector through a network of pipelines dubbed the Southern Corridor.