EU to charge Gazprom in an antitrust probe

EU to charge Gazprom in an antitrust probe

Gazprom Export and South Stream Transport B.V. signed a gas transmission agreement yesterday at a meeting of the South Stream Transport B.V. Board of Directors in Paris attended by the Gazprom Management Committee Chairman Alexey Miller, the company announced in a written statement.

During the meeting the board of directors also approved a detailed construction schedule, endorsed the company’s long-term budget and confirmed the commissioning of South Stream’s first offshore line before the end of 2015.

For the purpose of diversifying natural gas export routes, Gazprom is constructing a gas pipeline across the Black Sea to Southern and Central Europe, which is the South Stream project.

The offshore section of the South Stream gas pipeline will run under the Black Sea from the Russkaya compressor station on the Russian coast to the Bulgarian coast. The total length of the Black Sea section will exceed 900 kilometers; its maximum depth will be more than two kilometers, and its annual design capacity 63 billion cubic meters.

On Sept. 16, 2011, the Shareholders Agreement of South Stream Transport was signed for the construction of the 16-billion-euro offshore gas pipeline section. According to the document, Gazprom holds a 50 percent stake in the project; Italian Eni holds a 20 percent stake, while German Wintershall Holding and French EDF hold 15 percent stakes each.

The 925-kilometer undersea pipeline crosses Turkish territorial waters before reaching Bulgaria and continuing onshore to Italy across Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia.

The project gives a boost to alternative pipeline projects to carry gas to Southern Europe from Central Asia, such as the Trans-Anatolia Pipeline (TANAP) project that will be realized jointly by Turkey and Azerbaijan.