Russian energy company Gazprom said it placed a high priority on developing the South Stream gas pipeline network for the benefit of European consumers.
Alexei Miller, chairman of the Russian energy company, met in Moscow with Vasily Golubev, governor of the Rostov region of Russia, which borders the Sea of Azov.
The company said in a statement both sides reviewed the prospects for the construction and eventual supplies for the planned South Stream natural gas pipeline.
"Gazprom gives high priority to developing the infrastructure for South Stream, [a] strategic project aimed at strengthening the European energy security," it said Monday.
Gazprom said it plans to commission parts of South Stream before the end of 2015. The pipeline is designed to have an annual capacity of 2.2 trillion cubic feet.
Gazprom envisions South Stream as a means to add diversity to an export market that depends on Soviet-era gas transit networks through Ukraine, where geopolitical tensions add a layer of risk to Russia's export options.
Ukraine descended into chaos when ousted President Viktor Yanukovych suspended efforts to sign free trade and association deals with the European Union. EU leaders have since embraced the post-Yanukovych government in Kiev, while Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula.
[Gazprom] [Die Welt]