ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, May 23 (UPI) -- Expanding the Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea, and building the South Stream counterpart, is good for Europe, Russian energy company Gazprom said.
Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom's deputy chairman, met in St. Petersburg with Han Fennema, chairman of gas infrastructure company Gasunie, to discuss gas supplies to Europe.
Lingering debt issues between Ukraine, which hosts a pipeline network carrying Russian gas to Europe, and Gazprom has put European energy supplies at risk.
Nord Stream, a twin pipeline system that makes landfall in Germany, can carry as much as 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas per year.
Gazprom, in a briefing on the Thursday meeting, said both sides viewed the "possible expansion of the Nord Stream project" as a way to boost Russian natural gas supplies to Europe.
Nord Stream's counterpart, the South Stream pipeline planned for southern Europe, should have the necessary agreements in place to start construction through Serbia soon, Gazprom said.
South Stream could bring 2.2 trillion cubic feet of gas per year to Europe by 2018.
Gazprom lauded this week's 30-year contract with China as a way to diversify an asset base tied strongly to Europe. European leaders, for their part, said projects like South Stream would strengthen Russia's grip on the region's energy sector.