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German Picked To Head South Stream Project

Gazprom chief Aleksei Miller has nominated the former mayor of Hamburg, Henning Voscherau, to head the board of the Russia-backed South Stream pipeline project.

Miller on March 19 cited Voscherau's "experience in working with international organizations dealing with legal regulation" and said his "weighty authority will make him a considerable contribution to the successful and timely implementation of the South Stream project."

After serving as the first mayor of Hamburg, Voscherau is also a former president of Germany's upper house of parliament.

The South Stream natural-gas pipeline aims to carry some 63 billion cubic meters of Russian gas across southeastern Europe to points in Italy and Austria.

Miller said that construction of the pipeline is due to start this December with operation set to start in December 2015.

Voscherau, 70, is not the first high-ranking former German official to receive a post with Gazprom. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was named chairman of the Northern European Gas Pipeline Company, Gazprom's pipe-building subsidiary, in December 2005.

Russian news agencies have estimated the cost of the project at some 10 billion euros ($15.8 billion) but the Germany daily "Kieler Nachrichten" cited a figure of between 8 and 25 billion euros.

With reporting from ITAR-TASS and Bloomberg

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