Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will visit Austria on April 24-25, a Russian government source said on Friday.
He is due to meet with Chancellor Werner Faymann and President Heinz Fischer and oversee the signing of an agreement on Austria's entry into the South Stream project.
The gas pipeline project is designed to carry 31 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year across the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further on to Italy and Austria.
The pipeline is expected to go into operation in 2015, its capacity eventually reaching 63 bcm, or some 35% of Russian gas supplies to Europe.
Russia has already signed intergovernmental agreements with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia to implement the onshore part of the project.
The project is part of Russia's efforts to reduce dependence on transit nations, particularly Ukraine. It is widely seen as a rival project to the EU-backed Nabucco, which would also transport Caspian and Central Asian gas to Europe but would bypass Russia.
On Sunday, Putin will start a two-day visit to Italy where he will meet with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to discuss energy, scientific and cultural cooperation, among other issues.
MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti)