Building of South Stream gas pipeline through Serbia will start on Nov. 24, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and head of Russian energy giant Gazprom Alexey Miller agreed on Monday.
Dacic stressed that the pipeline is one of the most important infrastructure investments for Serbia in decades, which can make the country a regional energy hub.
"During the following days all the details necessary for the start of the pipeline will be finalized," reported the Serbian government website.
According to Serbian government estimation, the building of Serbian part of the pipeline could cost some 1.7 billion euros (about 2.28 billion U.S. dollars).
Total length of the pipeline upon completion will be 2,446 km. Leaving Russian ground at the town of Anapa, the pipeline continues under the Black Sea, through Bulgaria (538 km), Serbia (422 km), Hungary (229 km), Slovenia (266 km), arriving at the town of Treviso in northern Italy.
It was initially estimated that the pipeline will cost some 16.5 billion euros. But the total cost could almost rise to 24 billion euro, Russian media estimated.
According to Gazprom, South Stream building time frame is September 2010 - December 2019, with first commercial deliveries expected to flow by the end of 2015. (1 euro = 1.34 U.S. dollars)