RT.com

Russia’s state-owned gas major Gazprom and its partners are beginning construction of the $16bn South Stream pipeline that will run under the Black Sea to Europe and rival the Nabucco project.

­The symbolic first welding of the pipeline took place in the city of Anapa in Southern Russia on Friday. Among those present at the ceremony were Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bulgaria’s Regional Development and Public Works Minister Liliyana Pavlova as well as representatives of Italy’s ENI, France’s EDF and Germany’s BASF.

Last month Gazprom and its partners signed off on the final investment to launch the project. The parties confirmed registration of South Stream Transport BV with headquarters in Amsterdam.

The construction of the pipeline includes two large-scale steps – laying a gas pipeline on the bed of the Black Sea and the development of an onshore pipeline network in Europe.

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