Bulgaria invites two more partners to Nabucco gas pipeline project

Oct 18, 2007 02:00 AM

Bulgaria agreed to a European Union proposal to invite two more partners to join the Nabucco gas pipeline project, which will carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Western Europe, the government said.
Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov said Bulgaria was ready to accept both Germany's RWE and Gaz de France as partners, instead of just one of the companies as originally proposed. He made the announcement after talks with Johannes van Aartsen, the European Commission project coordinator.

The cost of the Nabucco project -- seen as key to Europe's efforts to lessen its dependence on Russian energy -- is estimated at $ 6.5 bn. It would provide a natural gas link between Iran and Azerbaijan and EU countries, and would run from Turkey through Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary to Austria.
The consortium is owned by Austria's OMV, Hungary's MOL, Turkey's BOTAS, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz and Romania's Transgaz. Initially, the five partners had been looking for a sixth partner.

Talks on financing the project have been held with the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. They had recommended seeking additional backing to raise the project's credibility.
The 3,300-km (2,050-mile) pipeline project is at a preparatory stage. Construction could begin as early as 2008, with operation starting in 2012. The pipeline's transit capacity would be 30 bn cm per year.

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