Outgoing Italian PM declines South Stream job offer

Italy’s outgoing PM Romano Prodi has formally turned down a top post in South Stream AG, a European gas pipeline project. During a meeting with Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller he said 'he was flattered', but declined the proposal.

Analysts believe Gazprom was planning to do exactly as they did with former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who heads the Nord Stream shareholders' committee.

Now it’s up to the Italian leadership to decide whether South Stream will come to their country ahead of competitive gas pipelines.

The South Stream pipeline, to be jointly built by Gazprom and Italy's ENI, will transport 30 billion cubic metres of gas a year to Europe from 2013. It's estimated it will cost about $US 14 billion.

Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia are also involved in the project.