France's EdF to own 20 % stake in South Stream
France's largest power company, EdF, will take 20 % in the Russian-Italian project to build a gas pipeline under the
Black Sea to supply Europe, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.
Gazprom, which owns 50 % of the company created to lay the South Stream pipeline, initially said EdF could count on a stake of 10 % before raising the limit to 20 %. Italy's ENI owns the other half of the pipeline venture.
Russia will not delay or abandon the plan to construct the undersea route for its gas deliveries to Europe despite
the recent warming of the ties with key overland transit country, Ukraine, Putin said. The gas trade agreements that
Moscow and Kiev signed earlier, which include permission for Russia to extend the lease of a Ukrainian naval base,
may not last long because of attacks from the Ukrainian political opposition, he said.
"Some opposition members have already stated they will destroy these agreements instantly if they come to power," he said at Berlusconi's new villa, Villa Gernetto.
Gazprom has said the South Stream will come online at the end of 2015, near the end of term for Ukrainian President
Viktor Yanukovych, who has markedly improved ties with Russia after his election in February.
In an apparent attempt to highlight Russia's determination to develop alternative gas transit lines, Putin said the capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline -- which is being constructed under the Baltic Sea -- might be expanded beyond the now-planned 55 bn cm of gas if European demand picks up. An existing pipeline on the bottom of the Black Sea to Turkey can also transport more gas, if upgraded, to supply other countries in the region, he said.