The supervisory board of South Stream Transport BV approved the signing of a construction contract for the South Stream Offshore Pipeline on 11 March 2014, a day after European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger was quoted by German daily newspaper Die Welt, saying that talks with Russia on the South Stream project would be delayed, in response to the crisis in Crimea.
The gas pipeline project aims to bring Russian gas to Europe, and could supply up to 15% of Europe's annual gas demand via the Black Sea by 2018. However, the EU is cautious about over-reliance on Russia to supply its natural gas.
The South Stream Offshore Pipeline will consist of four parallel pipelines of 931km across the Black Sea. Each pipeline will consist of over 75,000 sections of 32in.-diameter pipe.
In March 2014, South Stream Transport B.V. plans to sign construction contracts covering offshore pipe laying of Line 1 and construction offshore crossings for all four lines and landfall facilities in Russia and Bulgaria.
The Supervisory Board also approved the signing of a pipe supply contract for the second line. Orders for the supply of pipes for Line 1 were placed with producers in Russia and Germany on 29 January 2014. Suppliers for Line 2 will be announced upon conclusion of the contracts.
The Supervisory Board reiterated that the project is important to guarantee the energy supply to Europe.
The South Stream offshore pipeline through the Black Sea is the offshore component of the South Stream Pipeline System which will increase the security of supply of natural gas from Russia to central and southeastern Europe as it creates a new supply route and provides additional transport capacity. The project will contribute to European energy security in a safe, reliable and environmentally responsible way and will help the EU member states meet their CO2 reduction targets.
The 931km-long South Stream offshore pipeline will connect the world’s largest natural gas reserves in Russia with consumers in the European Union. The South Stream offshore pipeline will originate on the Russian Black Sea shore in the area of Anapa, cross the Turkish Exclusive Economic Zone in the Black Sea, and land on the Bulgarian coast near Varna. Commercial operations are scheduled to start by the end of 2015. When fully operational, the South Stream offshore pipeline will consist of four pipeline strings and reach an annual capacity of 63 billion cu. m.
South Stream Transport B.V. is an international joint venture established for the planning, construction and subsequent operation of the offshore gas pipeline through the Black Sea. The Russian company Gazprom holds a 50% stake in the joint venture. The Italian company Eni has a 20% stake. The French energy company EDF and the German company Wintershall each hold 15%.