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Gazprom Says South Stream Construction To Start, While EU Begs To Differ

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Russia's Gazprom says construction will begin this week on the underwater section of its South Stream pipeline, which will carry natural gas beneath the Black Sea and into the European Union.

But is this really the case?

Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller announced last month that the final investment decision for the project had been reached. Miller is scheduled to attend a groundbreaking ceremony near the town of Anapa on Russia's Black Sea coast on December 7.

However, as Jonathan Stern, head of the Natural Gas Research Program at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies notes, Gazprom hasn't yet ordered pipe or organized the lay barge for the pipeline and "cannot start laying the offshore section until 2014 [at the] earliest."

Moreover, EU officials say a final route has yet to be submitted to Brussels and likely won't have final approval for at least another year.

RFE/RL has also learned that EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger declined an invitation to attend the groundbreaking, citing previous commitments.

'Never Been Communicated'

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A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Gazprom Says South Stream Construction To Start, While EU Begs To Differ

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