A natural gas pipeline from Russia to South Korea is expected to start deliveries before the end of the decade, a Gazprom official said from St. Petersburg. Russian energy company Gazprom announced in September that it signed a memorandum of understanding with North Korea to build a natural gas transmission system to the Korean Peninsula. Seoul said the project was in the very early stages of planning. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in St. Petersburg to discuss economic ties. Alexei Miller, chief executive officer at Gazprom, was quoted by Russia\'s Prime Tass news agency as saying after the meeting that a natural gas pipeline to Korea was expected within the next six years. \"We may expect supplies of Russian pipeline gas to South Korea to start in 2017,\" he said. South Korea is one of the largest natural gas consumers in the world. If built, the pipeline has the potential to bring in more than $500 million each year in transit fees for the North Korean government. Seoul said the reliability of gas supplies through North Korean territory would rest in Russian hands.