Serbian leg of South Stream to start construction

Nov. 12, 2013 at 5:54 AM

BELGRADE, Serbia, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline though Serbian territory will start by the end of the year, Russian energy company Gazprom said.

Alexei Miller, Gazprom's top executive, met in Belgrade with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and other high-ranking officials to discuss their bilateral energy relationship.

"A special attention was paid to the South Stream construction that would start in Serbia before the end of this year," the Russian energy company said Monday.

Gazprom in March signed a 10-year contract to supply Serbia with 53 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year. Some of that supply would eventually travel though South Stream, designed for an annual capacity of 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

South Stream is meant to add diversity to Russia's export routes through Europe. Gazprom says it will add a layer of energy security to the European market. A contractual dispute between Gazprom and its counterparts in Ukraine, which hosts most of Russia's gas for Europe, adds a layer of risk to conventional routes.

The company said it plans to commission parts of South Stream before the end of 2015.

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