MOSCOW, November 24 (Sputnik) — The construction work on the South Stream gas pipeline is continuing as planned, Head of the Russian Energy Ministry's oil and gas production and transportation department Alexander Gladkov stated Monday.
"The work continues as planned, the prospects for the pipeline are not bad, we have agreements with the Serbs, and several other countries," Gladkov said at a press conference at Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.
Gazprom's Head of relations with Russian authorities Vladimir Markov confirmed that the South Stream construction is being carried out with minimal delays. He noted that Bulgaria remains the only country that has decided to suspend its participation in the project.
Russian energy giant Gazprom started building the South Stream gas pipeline across the Black Sea in 2012 in order to reduce the unreliable passage of Russian natural gas to central and southern Europe through Ukraine. The pipeline is expected to be fully operational by 2018.
Brussels has long been trying to hamper the project, saying it violates the European Union’s Third Energy Package, which stipulates that pipelines in its member countries cannot belong to natural gas producers. Moscow insists that the construction of the pipeline does not contradict the regulations in any way.