Russia is very keen to press ahead with construction of the South Stream pipeline that will carry Russian gas to Europe avoiding Ukraine, the CEO of Italian oil service group Saipem said on Thursday.
"The client is extremely determined to go ahead," Umberto Vergine said in a conference call with analysts.
He said the client aimed to complete a second line by the end of 2016.
In March, Russian energy giant Gazprom said Saipem had won deals worth 2 billion euros to build the first stage of the underwater South Stream gas pipeline which is led by Gazprom.
Vergine said work on the first line would begin at the end of this year.
Scepticism has been expressed over the project's viability due to strained East-West relations after Russia annexation of the Crimea.
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Francesca Landini)