A new gas pipeline, South Stream, may be built, crossing Romania on its road towards the Western Europe, said the president of the Italian energy group ENI, Paolo Scaroni, after meeting Gazprom officials in Moscow. The crossing of the Romanian land is a new idea, since all previous projects seemed to exclude it.

South Stream will cross the Black Sea, transiting Bulgaria, then dividing in two lines, one towards the North, the other towards the South of Western Europe.

According to Scaroni, the track for the pipeline is closing to its final shape. "We analyze with interest the option to have a line crossing Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria, ending then in Italy and Germany", said the Eni president.

South Stream, a project costing some 14 billion dollars, will have a capacity 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year and scheduled to come into exploitation in 2013. The project is controlled by Gazprom, which will have Eni as partner.

Scaroni estimates that the South Stream and the Nabucco project don't challenge each other, since the natural gas consumption in Europe will only grow.

Analysts on the market estimate that the needs in Europe will grow from the existing 525 billion cubic meters of gas per year to 740 billions in 2030.