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The South Stream gas pipeline is expedient and useful, Heinz Fischer noted at a joint news conference with Russia’s president.
“These are natural steps to expand the transport infrastructure,” he said. “This is not a striving to bypass Ukraine.”
Putin reminded that such projects as Nord Stream, South Stream and Blue Stream had appeared long before. “It is wrong to always say that we are doing anything against anyone,” he stressed.
He said he had big doubts about competitive advantages of American shale gas on the European market. “It will not be cheaper than Russian gas,” he said. “It costs money to extract, process, ship and re-gasify shale gas, so, it will be even more expensive.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Russia’s gas monopolist Gazprom and Austria’s oil and gas corporation OMV signed a shareholders’ agreement, determining principles of activity of a joint venture, South Stream Austria. First gas through the South Stream pipeline is expected to be pumped to Austria at the end of 2016, OMV spokesman Robert Lechner told reporters.
“They are rivals, they do everything to disrupt [the Russian gas] contract,” the Russian president said. “It’s an ordinary competitive struggle.”
“Political means are also used,” he said.