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South Stream countdown underway - Gazprom head

© RIA Novosti . Sergey Guneev / Go to the photo bankAlexei Miller
Alexei Miller - Sputnik International
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A technical and economic assessment of the South Stream gas project will be ready in February 2011 and the pipeline will go into operation at the end of 2015, the Gazprom CEO said in Vienna on Saturday.

A technical and economic assessment of the South Stream gas project will be ready in February 2011 and the pipeline will go into operation at the end of 2015, the Gazprom CEO said in Vienna on Saturday.

Miller was speaking after a deal to bring Austria into the project was signed in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann. The agreement is the last document necessary for the project's go-ahead.

"The conclusion of the technical and economic assessment is planned for February 2011," Alexei Miller said, confirming that the pipeline would be launched at the end of 2015.

"We can from today count down to its realization," he added.

Russia has already signed intergovernmental agreements with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia to implement the onshore part of the project.

Gazprom and Austria's OMV also signed an agreement on cooperation on Saturday and Miller said the two companies would register a joint venture in the near future.

"The joint venture will be registered in the very near future, but the exact date has not yet been decided," Miller said, adding that it was "50-50" that the joint venture would be registered in Austria.

He also said that Russia had not yet received a proposal from Ukraine on possible participation in a consortium to modernize its gas transit system, but that Russia would go ahead with South Stream irrespective of developments.

The Gazprom chief also said that France's EDF would become a South Stream shareholder in "the next one-and-a-half to two months."

VIENNA, April 24 (RIA Novosti) 

 

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