11 May 2010 13:20

Energy Ministry not linking South Stream plans with Gazprom, Naftogaz merger

DAMASCUS. May 11 (Interfax) - The parameters of the South Stream gas pipeline will depend on the project's feasibility study and not in any way on a potential merger of Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Tuesday.

"We are not linking those items. South Stream is an absolutely fundamental thing for us - a strategic outlet for direct deliveries to European consumers," he said.

The project parameters have been discussed with the countries participating in South Stream, he said.

"The feasibility study will say everything, how elastic the connection between the pipeline costs and volumes are," Shmatko said.

Shmatko rejected the idea of suspending the South Stream project.

"It seems to me that if we are able to deliver large volumes of gas at acceptable prices to Europe, then we will be competitive. Europe, as far as I understand, needs 100 billion-120 billion cubic meters of Russian gas above current volumes," he said.