President of Russia Vladimir Putin has officially launched the construction of the sea par of South Stream gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine's territory.

The symbolic first welding of the pipeline took place in the city of Anapa in Southern Russia on Friday. The guests of the ceremoby included 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.

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. The Russian gas system will get additional 2,446 kilometers of pipelines and ten compressor stations with a total capacity of 1.437 megawatts in order to enable the annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters.

Last month, Russian energy giant Gazprom signed deals with Bulgaria, Slovenia, Hungary and Serbia to build stretches of the South Stream gas pipeline project to bring Russian natural gas to Europe along the Black Sea seabed bypassing transit countries.


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