ROME, July 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Italy is ready to render support for the energy dialogue between Russia and the European Union in order to promote the implementation of the South Stream gas pipeline project, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said on Tuesday.
“South Stream has always been a project of strategic significance for Italy since it would help to diversify routes for the Russian natural gas supplies, eventually enhancing energy security both for Italy and the European Union,” Federica Mogherini said in an interview with ITAR-TASS.
The construction of the Russia-sponsored South Stream gas pipeline, intended to pump Russian natural gas directly to Europe bypassing transit countries like Ukraine, was recently subjected to a set of obstacles as the European Commission attempted to block the project’s implementation over Russia’s stance on Ukraine.
“The South Stream (project) must respect and take into account all European norms in the energy sector, and we (Italy) are ready to work on promoting the dialogue between Russia and the European Union in this sphere,” the top Italian diplomat said.
Mogherini is rounding up her official visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Tuesday and will then set off to Moscow, where on July 9 she is scheduled for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Gazprom’s $45 billion South Stream project, slated to open in 2018 and deliver 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe, is a strategy for Russia to bypass politically unstable Ukraine as a transit country, and helps ensure the reliability of gas supplies to Europe.
The project stipulates for the offshore gas pipeline section to run under the Black Sea from the Russkaya compressor station on the Russian coast to the Bulgarian coast. The total length of the offshore section will be around 900 kilometers, the maximum depth - over two kilometers and the design capacity — 63 billion cubic meters. There are two optional routes for the onshore gas pipeline section: either north-westwards or south-westwards from Bulgaria.
The 900-kilometer-long undersea section of the pipeline will run from the gas compressor facility at Beregovaya, on Russia's Black Sea coast, near Arkhipo-Osipovka, towards the city of Burgas, in Bulgaria. The sea's maximum depth on this route is 2,000 meters.
South Stream is a strategic project for Europe's energy security and should be implemented by the end of 2015. Work is currently underway to draft a feasibility study for the marine section across the Black Sea and the surface section running through transit countries.
The overall capacity of the marine section of the pipeline will be 63 billion cubic meters per year. It is worth about €8.6 billion.