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Friday, January 30, 2009

South Stream answer for Europe

MOSCOW, Jan. 29, 2009 (UPI) -- With the Ukrainian-Russian gas dispute putting renewed focus on alternate gas routes, new emphasis should move toward South Stream, a Russian economist says. Russian economist Oleg Mityayev writes in RIA Novosti Thursday that the European Union expects its natural gas demand to increase from about 2.5 billion cubic feet per year to 3.5 billion cubic feet per year by 2030. This trend makes the South Stream project to Italy important, he says. The project would bring natural gas from the Black Sea to Italy and Southern and Central Europe. Russian energy monopoly Gazprom and Italian company Eni S.p.A. (NYSE:E) signed agreements on the project in 2007, with host and supplier nations following suit. Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief of Gazprom, echoed those sentiments, adding South Stream capacity could increase beyond its current 1.1 trillion cubic feet projection. Bulgaria, a host, would be able to meet gas requirements through the project while Serbia, also a host, could gain 100,000 new jobs and bring $2.6 billion in foreign investments. South Stream, Mityayev says, would bring benefits to all involved and bring more diversified gas reserves to Germany and Italy, two of the primary importers in Europe.

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