Moscow announced a decision to speed up plans for the South Stream natural gas pipeline with a goal of launching construction by December. Russian natural gas company Gazprom said it decided to push up the start of South Stream developments following consultation with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Construction is now set to begin in December. Alexei Miller, the top executive at Gazprom, said everything is in place to expedite development of the natural gas pipeline for Europe. \"We have a regulatory basis, great interest of the project participants in Europe, the required funds and the unique track record of delivering large-scale gas transmission projects offshore,\" he said in a statement. \"The project is in great demand, people are looking forward to it and we are ready to launch it.\" Russia aims to allay energy security concerns through its Nord Stream gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea and the planned South Stream project for southern Europe. Gazprom reached a recent deal with Turkish pipeline company BOTAS for South Stream. Gazprom had said it might be cheaper to build another pipeline like South Stream than it would up upgrade the Soviet-era pipeline network through Ukraine. Europe gets about 20 percent of its natural gas from Russia though 80 percent of that runs through the transit network in Ukraine.