EU’s Barroso: commitment to Nabucco stays strong

Energy Trade

Europe still strongly backs the planned Nabucco gas pipeline, which could cross Georgia, to diversify energy sources in the bloc, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday.

The European Union is heavily reliant on Russian gas, but it has been pushing for the $12 billion Nabucco pipeline since disputes between Russia and transit states highlighted the frailty of its energy supply routes.

“Our general line is that we need more, not less interconnection in Europe,” Barroso told a news conference after a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. “There is a strong commitment to Nabucco. There are some difficulties with that project but most ... states rightly declare a personal interest in developing the Nabucco project,” Barroso said.

But analysts say hopes of construction are quickly fading, especially after the conflict in Georgia increased doubts about the security of investing in the turbulent region. Another threat to Nabucco is the Kremlin-backed South Stream pipeline project, sponsored by Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom and Italy’s Eni, which would carry 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year to south-east Europe.

However, Barroso said the two projects were not necessarily mutually exclusive. “I don’t see these different projects necessarily contradictory,” Barroso said. (Reuters)

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