VIENNA, April 29 Gazprom has signed a memorandum of understanding with Austria's OMV to construct a section of Gazprom's disputed South Stream gas pipeline ending in Austria, OMV said.
The pipeline is designed to bypass Ukraine, which is located on the way of Russian gas to Europe, and is facing stiff resistance from European officials, who are trying to cut European reliance on Russian energy.
OMV said the planned capacity of the Austrian section was 32 billion cubic metres a year, and that the two parties aimed to get the necessary permits by the end of 2015 with full commissioning of the Austrian section expected by January 2018.
"South Stream project is aimed at enhancing energy security of the European consumers, with has always been regarded as the top priority for Gazprom," Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller said in the OMV statement.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, editing by William Hardy)