MOL admits uncertainties about Nabucco after PM says MOL would withdraw from project

Energy Trade

Hungarian oil and gas company MOL admitted there were uncertainties about the Nabucco project after Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said earlier in the day MOL would withdraw from the international gas pipeline project.

The EU-backed Nabucco is planned to be a 3,800-kilometer gas pipeline to carry 31 billion cubic meters of gas from Central Asia and the Caspian region through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Austria.

"I am not an expert in the issue but as far as I see even the Hungarian Mol company is withdrawing from the entire project," the prime minister said in Brussels' European Policy Centre where he gave a lecture on Monday. "Nabucco is in trouble", he said.

Orbán added, however, that Nabucco is an important project for Hungary, which is relying to a large part on Russian gas and endeavors to make itself independent regarding energy supply. Citing various pipeline projects with Slovakia and Croatia, Orbán said Hungary would like to put an end to dependence on Russian gas and diversify its gas imports within three years.

Commenting on Orbán's statement, MOL said that "it would be difficult to ignore the uncertainties that are surrounding the Nabucco project".

The company said that both funding and the source of gas to be supplied through the pipeline are uncertain while the estimated costs keep rising.

MOL said it had aired its worries several times on the board of the Nabucco project company.

"We continue to be committed towards the diversification of East and Central Europe's energy supply, but as an independent company we have responsibilities to our shareholders, and must make the most profitable performance", MOL said.

The state of Hungary holds a 24.61% stake in MOL after in July 2011 it bought a 21.2% stake from Russian oil and gas company Surgutneftegas for €1.88 billion.

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