The South Stream natural gas pipeline was first introduced in 2007 as a venture between Gazprom of Russia, and Eni of Italy. It is meant to offer a rival to the gas pipeline proposed to transport gas from the Black Sea to Europe, a pipeline that if left unchecked could threaten Gazprom’s natural gas monopoly in Europe.
A statement has now been released by Vladimir Putin’s office, which announces the South Stream project will begin in December. Eni initially said that they expected a final investment decision to be made in late 2010 or early 2013, however the Russians have now said that “Gazprom and Eni aim to make the final investment decision on the offshore part of the project in November and start the construction in December.”
The pipeline will cost an estimated €15 billion ($18.25 billion) and be able to supply southern Europe with 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas as early as 2015.
Putin and Mario Monti, the new Italian Prime Minister, will meet in Russia today to discuss the deal, amongst other things.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com