Russia and Austria sign natural gas pipeline deal

- Russia and Austria agree on South Stream gas pipeline project to transfer 32 billion cubic meters of Russian gas

VIENNA, Austria (AA) - Russia's Gazprom and Austrian gas producer OMV agreed on Tuesday to build the South Stream pipeline that would carry as much as 32 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to central Europe.

The deal has been signed by Gazprom chief Alexey Miller and OMV CEO Gerhard Roiss in Vienna during Russian President Vladimir Putin's official visit to Austria.

The South Stream project, which is expected to be operational by 2018, is designed to ship Russia's natural gas to Europe through Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Austria.

However, Brussels has put the project on hold as the EU seeks to decrease its reliance on Russian gas due to Moscow’s involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. European authorities also claim the project may violate EU competition regulations. 

Austria's decision to carry on with the project has sparked EU-wide criticism.

However, according to OMV's chief Roiss, Austria needs the Russian gas as almost a million families in the country depend on natural gas for home heating.

www.aa.com.tr/en

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency