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Russia and Bulgaria have signed a deal to build the Bulgarian section of the SouthStream pipeline project, bringing Russian gas to Europe under the Black Sea.

The SouthStream project is 50% Russian owned through Gazprom. 20% belongs to Italian oil company ENI, and 15% each is owned by EDF and Germany’s BASF. The Bulgarian section will be 540 kilometres long, and cost 3.3 billion euros.

“Today we signed the final investment decision on the Bulgarian part of the South Stream project and I must say that Bulgaria, together with us started the realization of the project. The final investment decision means a final agreement of both sides to start the project,” said Gazprom boss Alexei Miller.

In all the project will cost over 16 billion euros; a high price say analysts for the 3600 kilometre-long pipeline, especially as it falls foul of EU rules on suppliers owning transportation capacity.

But SouthStream would bypass existing supply routes through Belarus and Ukraine, with whom disputes with Moscow over gas transit tariffs in the past have interrupted supplies and caused political problems.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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