VIENNA, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Gazprom and the Austrian oil and gas company OMV on Tuesday signed a shareholder pact of the joint venture South Stream Austria, defining the principles of construction and further exploitation of the respective gas pipeline.
The document was signed by Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller and OMV CEO Gerhard Reuss during the official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Austria.
The founding companies will own 50 percent of the joint venture under the agreement, which also defines the specific rights and obligations of shareholders, and pins down the principles of financing and profit distribution between them.
"This investment decision is an investment into the security of the gas supply for Europe," OMV CEO Gerhard Roiss told the press after the signing.
The agreement is an extension of the memorandum on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline in Austria, concluded in late April. At the time the annual deliveries to Austria were estimated at 32 billion cubic meters, and all the required construction permits were expected by 2015.
OMV Press Secretary Robert Lechner specified on Tuesday that the first supplies through the South Stream can reach Austria in late 2016, which is earlier than the previous timeframe of 2017.
The offshore part of the South Stream pipeline will run from Russia through the Black Sea to the Bulgarian coast and further onward to Austria's Baumgarten through Serbia and Hungary, with a total capacity of up to 63 billion cubic meters.