Austria wants to join the South Stream project, a key step toward construction on a pipeline to increase the flow of Russian gas to Europe.
Supplies of Russian gas to Austria would increase by 2 Bcm/y after South Stream’s launch. The deal allows South Stream to cross Austrian territory.
Austria, which gets 60% of its gas from Russia, became the seventh country to sign on to the 900-km pipeline, following Croatia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece and Slovenia. The rival Nabucco project, a 7.9 billion euro ($10.6 billion) pipeline aims to supply Caspian gas to Europe. But Nabucco, spearheaded by Germany’s RWE, Hungary’s MOL, Romania’s Transgaz, Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz and Turkey’s Botas, has struggled to get off the ground as it has failed to book enough gas to fill its pipes.
Russia says it is ready to start construction of the South Stream projects as quickly as it began working on Nord Stream, another pipeline aimed at reducing transit risks to Russian gas. Construction began last month on Nord Stream, which will run under the Baltic Sea from Vyborg, Russia, to Greifswald, Germany.
Meanwhile, France’s largest power company, EDF, said it will take 20% in South Stream. Gazprom has said South Stream will come online at the end of 2015.