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Austria Signs On To South Stream

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (left) is welcomed by Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann before their meeting in Vienna.
Austria has signed an agreement to participate in a Russian-backed pipeline project to bring additional volumes of natural gas to Europe.

Austrian Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner and Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko signed an agreement on cooperation in construction of the South Stream gas pipeline.

Gazprom chief Aleksei Miller and Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer of Austria's OMV Gas and Power signed another agreement on cooperation.

The agreements were signed as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin starts a visit to Austria.

Putin met earlier with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann. Following that meeting, Putin said Austria would receive an additional 2 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually from South Stream.

When completed, the South Stream gas pipeline would carry some 63 bcm of gas annually from Russia through Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary to Austria with a possible branch line heading south through Greece to Italy.

South Stream is seen by some as a rival project to the EU-backed Nabucco gas-pipeline project.

Putin is also scheduled to meet with Austrian President Heinz Fischer before attending the European Judo Championships in Vienna later today.

compiled from agency reports