The launch of the project to lay the South Stream gas pipeline across Serbia is an event of major importance for Serbia and the Balkan countries, and for the whole of Europe, said President Vladimir Putin, voiceofrussia.com reports.
"South Stream, to be laid along the Black Sea floor, will connect Russia's rich gas fields to the main markets in Southeastern Europe, guaranteeing reliable gas shipments to the European consumers without transit risks. This is expected to strongly consolidate international energy security," Putin said in a message of greetings to the participants and guests of the launch ceremony.
"The construction project - unprecedented in scope - will help attract large investment to Serbia and other Balkan countries, create jobs and promote socioeconomic development," he said.
"Serbia will become a key energy center in Europe after its gas transportation system is broadened and modernized," he said.
"Cooperation between Russia and Serbia in building the South Stream gas pipeline logically fits into constructive bilateral partnership, based on the long-established traditions of friendship," he said.
South Stream to improve international energy security - Putin
Russia's President Vladimir Putin sent a greeting to participants and guests of the official ceremony, devoted to beginning of construction of a South Stream part in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, where he stressed construction of the gas pipeline would make a big input in improvement of eh international energy security, the Kremlin's press service said on Sunday.
The official beginning of the South Stream's construction is due later on the day.
"It is an important event not only for Serbia and the Balkan Peninsula countries, but for the entire European continent," the president's greeting reads.
"South Stream will unite along the bottom of the Black Sea Russia's biggest natural gas deposits will major markets in south-eastern Europe," Putin said. "It will assure reliable supplies of the fuel to the European consumers without risks related to transit. It will make a big input in improvement of the international energy security."
"The unprecedentedly large construction of the gas pipeline will attract to Serbia and other countries in the region major investments, will offer new jobs, will favour further social and economic development."
"With the expanding and modernisation of is gas transporting system, the Republic of Serbia will become Europe's key energy centre."
"The cooperation between Russia and Serbia in the South Stream project fits logically into the fruitful partnership between our countries, based on historic traditions of friendships between the people of Russia and Serbia."
Gazprom implements the South Stream's construction project, where the line will go across the Black Sea to the countries of southern and central Europe to diversify supplies of the natural gas to Europe and to lower the dependence on transit countries. Russia has signed governmental agreements with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Chroatia and Austria on the land part of the pipeline. South Stream will cross the territory of Bulgaria from the Black Sea /Varna port/ to the border with Serbia from east to west, and will make 540.8 kilometres. The projected production over the first year will be 16 billion cubic metres to reach later on 63 billion cubic metres a year. The sea part of South Stream, which will deliver the Russian natural gas to southern Europe, is over 900 kilometres long.