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Nov 22, 2007 17:56 EEST
November 22 (SeeNews) - Italian oil and gas company Eni and Russian gas giant Gazprom on Thursday agreed to set up a joint venture to build a pipeline that would carry Russian gas to Italy and Austria via Bulgarian territory, Eni said on Thursday.
"Eni and Gazprom signed today in Moscow a further agreement related to the South Stream project, in which the parties agreed to use a joint special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the commissioning of the marketing and technical feasibility studies of the project," Eni said in a statement.
The 900-kilometre offshore pipeline is designed to carry 30 billion cubic metres of Russian gas yearly to Austria and Italy. For the onshore section two different routes from Bulgaria are being studied - one towards northwest and another towards southwest.
"The two partners [...] acknowledged the achievement of the preliminary studies and have agreed to commission the detailed feasibility work as soon as possible. Eni and Gazprom, together with the Italian and Russian governments, will develop top level discussions with the governments of the transit countries of the South Stream pipeline and possible other partners in the coming months," the statement said.
The feasibility study of the project is expected to be launched in the coming months, Riccardo Meriggi, manager for the South Stream project with Eni said earlier this week.
Two weeks ago Bulgaria and Russia agreed on the development of the gas pipeline. A bilateral government agreement to support the pipeline is expected to follow, possibly in January when Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit Sofia.
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