Sunday, May 31, 2009

Romania open to all pipeline options

BUCHAREST, Romania, May 29 (UPI) -- The decision to back the Nabucco gas pipeline to Europe does not exclude Romanian participation in rival projects, the Romanian prime minister said.

Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc said his country holds Nabucco as a top financial priority, as well as domestic projects, but left open the possibility for other regional projects, the Romanian daily newspaper Curierul National reports.

"Romania has the strategic advantage of holding an important position in any of them, so Romania's policy will be flexible, as it can be part of other European projects," he said.

Romania lies along the route for the Nabucco gas pipeline, which Europe hopes will ease its energy dependence on Russia, while a rival project, South Stream, would secure Russia's position in the southeastern European energy sector.

Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH had announced British consulting company Penspen is coordinating planning efforts for five local front-end engineering and design firms for Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Meanwhile, South Stream would bring around 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from Central Asia and Russia along a route that includes Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia. Romania may be included on a northern branch of the artery.

"We can be party to any of these projects, evidently we must see how the European Union and the other partners will be inclined to support one or other of the projects," the premier said.

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