The South Stream Transport AG consortium has has formally initiated the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure for the Bulgarian section of the South Stream Offshore Pipeline Project, according to a media statement of the company.
The Bulgarian offshore section of the gas pipeline will be approximately 250 kilometers long.
The South Stream Offshore Pipeline is to be about 900 kilometers long and is to run through the Black Sea from Anapa in Russia to Varna in Bulgaria.
The company, which brings together Russian Gazprom, Italian Eni, French EDF and German Wintershall, has notified Bulgaria's Ministry of Environment and Water, the District Governor and the municipal administration of the Black Sea city of Varna, of its investment proposal.
"Notification is a first step towards realising the South Stream Offshore Pipeline Project. We are committed to a respectful dialogue. We will talk to people and organisations in Bulgaria and in all countries involved and make sure their views are taken into account during the construction and operation of the gas pipeline," Marcel Kramer, CEO of South Stream Transport AG, is quoted as saying in the company's press release.
The South Stream Transport AG consortium had a meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday.
According to reports of Bulgarian daily Presa, no Bulgarian representatives attended the meeting because its agenda only included South Stream's onshore section.
Russia plans to start the construction of the gas conduit designed to carry Russian gas to Europe by circumventing Ukraine by the end of 2012.
Bulgaria has tied its participation in the South Stream project to the promised 11.1% discount on Russian natural gas from April 1 to end-2012.