South Stream Launch Allows to Avoid Russian Gas Transit Via Ukraine - Medvedev

MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Nord Stream gas pipeline is one of the guarantees of reliable Russian gas delivery to Europe and if the South Stream is launched, then deliveries will no longer depend on the situation in Ukraine, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday.

“I would like to draw your attention to the fact that one of the guarantees for Europeans that everything remains normalized and that everything is in order is the presence of the North Stream [gas pipeline], the so-called Nord Stream. If we can in the next few years launch the South Stream, then, strictly speaking, [gas] transit through Ukraine will simply not be needed, though we understand that this is needed for Ukraine itself,” Medvedev said during an interview with Bloomberg.

The Russian Prime Minister stressed that the launch of the South Stream will guarantee regular gas supplies to Europe if the situation at the Ukrainian market stabilizes and the country meets its commitments.

In 2012 the construction of the South Stream pipeline began near the Russian city of Anapa. The aim of the 15.5-billion-euro project is to cut Russia’s dependence on the Ukrainian transit system and diversify Russian gas deliveries to Europe.

Commercial deliveries through this pipeline to Europe are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016, with the pipeline becoming fully operational in 2018.

Russia annually pumps about 100 billion cubic meters of gas to European countries via Ukraine, which makes up 80 percent of its total gas supplies to Europe.