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Nabucco International does not know of any MOL intention to withdraw

Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH, the company cooordinating the Nabucco gas-pipeline project, said late Monday it has not received any indication of a planned change in the position of FGSZ, a 100% unit of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, as the company's Hungarian shareholder.

Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH, the company cooordinating the Nabucco gas-pipeline project, said late Monday it has not received any indication of a planned change in the position of FGSZ, a 100% unit of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, as the company's Hungarian shareholder.

Nabucco Gas Pipeline International was reacting to a statement by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made in Brussels earlier on Monday that MOL would withdraw from the project. When asked to comment the PM's remarks, MOL told MTI there were uncertainties, such as regarding the funding and the source of gas, "which are difficult to ignore" but did not say say it would withdraw.

The state of Hungary holds a 24.61% stake in MOL.

The Nabucco pipeline project is proceeding successfully, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International communication and public affairs director Christian Dolezal said, noting that the final legal framework has been set up after all transit countries signed the project support agreement last year.

In Hungary the project has acquired three of the four necessary environmental licenses and it recently received a priority national project status in Bulgaria and Turkey too. Technical design was completed for 80% of the full length. Germany's Bayerngas is in talks with Nabucco to join as the seventh shareholder, Dolezal said.

The Nabucco Gas Pipeline International consortium consists of six companies -- Germany's RWE, Austria's OMV, Hungary's MOL, Romania's Transgaz, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz and Turkey's Botas.

Preparations for the Nabucco project started in 2002, while the intergovernmental agreement between Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria was signed in July 2009.

If built, the pipeline is expected to become operational by 2017, carrying 31 billion cubic meters (1.1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas per year. The total cost of the project is expected to be €24 billion-26 billion under a best-case scenario.

The Nabucco pipeline is a proposed natural-gas pipeline from Turkey to Austria aimed at diversifying natural-gas suppliers and delivery routes for Europe through the reduction of the continent's dependence on Russian energy. The project is seen as a rival to the Gazprom-Eni South Stream pipeline project. The main gas supplier is expected to be Iraq with potential supplies from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Egypt.