Russian gas supplies to Italy are planned to increase to 28.9 billion cubic metres by 2008, which is 1.5 times greater than their present level (19 billion cubic metres). According to Gazprom's press office, agreement on this was reached yesterday at a working meeting in Italy between Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller and Vittorio Mincato, the chief executive of the Eni group. Miller and Mincato also discussed the future development of the European gas market as it is liberalized and the role that long-term contracts will play in it, as well as the expansion of gas pipeline systems.
In February 1998 Gazprom and Eni signed an agreement on strategic cooperation. As part of the agreement the two companies are now implementing a project to build the Blue Stream pipeline from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea. On December 30, 2002 an agreement was signed in Turkey on beginning pumping through the pipeline. The projected capacity of the pipeline is 16 billion cubic metres of gas a year. In 2003, 2 billion cubic metres of Russian gas will be delivered to Turkey through the pipeline.