BRUSSELS May 15 Austrian steel and technology
group Voestalpine said talks with Moscow to supply
steel for its planned South Stream Gas pipeline were on track,
despite escalating tensions between Russia and the West.
Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula earlier
this year marked the biggest East-West crisis since the Cold War
and focused politician's minds on reducing the European Union's
reliance on Russian gas.
There are concerns in Brussels that the 2,400 kilometer
South Stream pipeline, which would reach Bulgaria and other EU
members, would further cement Russia's dominant role and
regulatory approvals have been put on hold.
However, Voestalpine Chief Executive Wolfgang Eder said the
political situation has not affected talks about delivering
"We are delivering for the first line and we will start in
summer discussions for a possible share in the second. The
timescale hasn't changed," he said on the sidelines of the
European Steel Day conference in Brussels.
Western sanctions on Russia have so far refrained from
targeting major state enterprises.
But the West has threatened more sanctions that could target
key sectors such as energy and banking if Russia escalates the
crisis in Ukraine.
(Reporting by Maytaal Angel; Editing by Erica Billingham)