LJUBLJANA Nov 9 Slovenia expects to sign a deal
on Saturday ensuring its participation in the South Stream
pipeline that will transport Russian gas to Europe, the economy
"The deal has been reached and the agreement is expected to
be signed on Saturday," ministry spokesman Gregor Resman told
Reuters on Monday.
Under the deal, which is to be signed by Slovenian Prime
Minister Borut Pahor and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin
in Moscow, the pipeline will run through Slovenia.
It will transport gas under the Black Sea, skirting Ukraine,
and is intended also to cross Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece,
Austria and Italy.
Disputes over payments between Russia and Ukraine, through
which most of Russia's gas exports to European markets now flow,
have caused disruptions and gas shortages in Europe during
The pipeline, which is expected to become operational in
2015, will have a capacity of up to 63 billion cubic metres per
year and will be built by Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom
(GAZP.MM) and Italy's oil major Eni (ENI.MI).
Slovenia had said in the past it also supports the
Western-backed Nabucco pipeline project, which would take gas
from Central Asia and the Caspian Sea and bypass Russia
(Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and