EC Energy Commissioner: No Conflict Between Nabucco, South Stream
The European Commission (EC) does not consider the Nabucco and South Stream gas pipeline projects as competing against each other, and sees no problem with Bulgaria being involved in both.
Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has praised both projects as essential for the European Union (EU), but added that that the EC should provide financial support only for the Nabucco project, leaving Russia responsible for South Stream.
The South Stream gas pipeline project is designed to transport an annual 31 B cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian natural gas to the Balkans and other European countries including Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Greece. The pipeline capacity could potentially reach 63 B cubic meters annually. The pipeline is expected to become operational in late 2015.
Oettinger has further stated that Nabucco was "especially worthy of financial support", claiming it would significantly reduce Europe’s energy dependence on a single supplier.
He added that the natural gas crisis had highlighted Europe’s excessive dependence on Russian supplies.
The Energy Commissioner also announced on Thursday that there would soon be an international conference on Nabucco, and a final decision on the project would be taken by the end of 2010.
The Nabucco project manager, Reinhard Mitschek, had predicted several months ago that the project would go online in 2014, with initial supplies of Iraqi gas, with Azerbaijan contributing from 2016.
Mitschek has confirmed the original estimate of EUR 7,9 B as the cost of the project, stating that up to EUR 150 M would be needed to begin construction in 2011.
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