Friday, February 22, 2008

Romania's Tranzgaz hosts first meeting on new CEE gas transmission business

BUDAPEST (Thomson Financial) - Romania's Tranzgaz is to host preliminary discussion aimed at creating a central and east European gas transmission business involving a potential 27,000 km of pipelines in seven countries, Tranzgaz said in a joint statement with Hungary's MOL.

The meetings are set to take place in Bucharest in the second week of March and will seek to establish the immediate steps needed to start the project, termed the New Europe Transmission System, or NETS.

Hungarian oil and gas company MOL broached the idea in late December. Currently Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia are involved in discussions.

"This project is now gathering momentum," said Janos Zsuga, head of MOL's gas transmission unit, in a statement.

"The dialogue amongst transmission system operators is well under way, and there is strong interest from the European Commission and from national energy authorities."

Back in December MOL said the joint venture, serving 68.5 mln customers and employing 6,000 people, would be in a better position to attract financing than smaller local companies.

It said the combined company could raise capital through an IPO, which would probably take place in London. edward.krudy@thomson.com

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