Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Romania Transgaz denies Gazprom pipeline talks

BUCHAREST, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Romanian gas pipeline operator Transgaz TGNM.BX denied on Tuesday that its possible inclusion in Russia's South Stream pipeline project was discussed at a meeting with gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) last week.

Gazprom said on Friday it is considering building a new gas pipeline via Romania. Its chief executive and the heads of Transgaz and Romanian state-run gas producer Romgas met to discuss underground gas storage and transit capacity issues.

"Transgaz denies media reports that during this meeting a possible inclusion of Romania instead of Bulgaria in the South Stream project was discussed," the firm said in a statement it sent to the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

Transgaz is part of a consortium with Austria's OMV (OMVV.VI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Germany's RWE (RWEG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Hungary's MOL MOLB.BU, Turkey's Botas and Bulgaria's Bulgargaz planning to build the rival Nabucco pipeline to ease Europe's dependence on Russian gas.

Gazprom, the world's largest gas producer and supplier of a quarter of Europe's gas needs, is seeking more partners to join its and Italian energy major Eni's (ENI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) South Stream gas pipeline which will run Russian gas from the Black Sea to south-eastern Europe.

Russia has already agreed to route the pipeline via Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Greece and is now in talks with Slovenia and Austria to join the project. (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by David Cowell)

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