MOSCOW, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Russia's deputy energy minister said the planned South Stream natural gas pipeline will operate according to European energy laws.
Russian energy company Gazprom plans to deliver natural gas through its South Stream pipeline to Europe by 2018. The pipeline will add a layer of diversity to a regional natural gas market vulnerable to geopolitical disputes between Russia and Ukraine, which currently hosts the bulk of Russian gas deliveries to Europe.
Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky said the pipeline would operate according to European laws, which would prevent gas monopoly Gazprom from owning the pipeline and the natural gas it delivers.
"South Stream can function normally under European Commission laws," he was quoted as saying Monday by Russian news agency RT.
European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger met last week with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak to discuss the legal details of South Stream.
European countries are looking to break Russia's grip on the regional energy sector by securing gas from rival supplier Azerbaijan.