MOSCOW, April 15 (UPI) -- Construction of the Serbian leg of the South Stream natural gas pipeline is scheduled for late 2013, earlier than planned, Russian energy company Gazprom said.
Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller met in Moscow with Serbian Minister of Natural Resources Milan Bacevic to discuss the planned South Stream natural gas pipeline.
"It was noted that the project was being implemented in Serbia ahead of schedule," Gazprom said in a statement. "Thus, the construction of South Stream's Serbian section may start in late 2013 instead of 2014 as planned before."
Officials in March signed a 10-year deal so Serbia could get as much as 53 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year through South Stream. South Stream would stretch more than 200 miles through Serbian territory on its way to Austria.
Gazprom officials in January met with pipeline manufacturers to discuss the construction of projects like South Stream. The entire pipeline is expected to be in service by 2015.