Friday, October 24, 2008

Romania ready to support gas pipeline projects

BUCHAREST, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Romania is ready to support the construction of both Nabucco and South Stream pipeline projects, the country's Economy and Finance Minister Varujan Vosganian said here Thursday.

"Romania is ready to support any EU-undertaken project, both Nabucco and South Stream," Vosganian told a press conference.

The statement was the first a Romanian official made showing the country's interest in the South Stream, a Russia-sponsored project which is widely seen as competitive to the EU-sponsored Nabucco.

South Stream project, led by Russian Gazprom and Italy's ENI with a cost of 10 billion euros (12.8 billion U.S. dollars), involves construction of a gas pipeline for delivery of natural gas from Russia to Europe.

Gazprom has already inked deals with Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Hungary for development of the project. Slovenia and Austria might as well participate in the project.

Romanian President Traian Basescu Wednesday urged the speeding up of the construction of the Nabucco pipeline project, saying that the EU must diversify sources for energy supply in order to impede such tendencies of some countries to use energy as a political instrument.

The 3,300-km Nabucco pipeline, which will bring gas from Central Asia to Europe while bypassing Russia, is expected to become operational in 2013with investments estimated at 7.9 billion euros (10.11 billion U.S. dollars).

Analysts say that the South Stream, with an annual gas transport capacity of 30 billion cubic meters, will enhance Russia's domination over gas deliveries to Europe.

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