The Nabucco gas pipeline project to pump natural gas from Central Asia to Europe bypassing Russia has been removed from a European Union list of priority projects, a source in the EU Council of Ministers said on Tuesday.
The 27-nation bloc had initially planned to allocate €250 million ($323 million) to finance the project, but later the funds were cut to €50 million ($64.5 million).
In an interview with Vesti TV on Monday, Alexander Medvedev said Gazprom would stick with its South Stream project and stay out of Nabucco. “Unlike in the case of Nabucco, we have everything we need for this project [South Stream] to materialize,” he said. “We have gas, the market, experience in implementing complex projects, and corporate management.”
The executive said Gazprom was not prepared to split its operations between two projects simultaneously. “You chase two rabbits, you catch neither. We have a rabbit we know, and we will chase it,” he said.
The $10 billion Nabucco pipeline, backed by the European Union and the US, is intended to link energy-rich Central Asia to Europe through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, bypassing Russia and Ukraine. Construction has been tentatively scheduled to begin in 2010.
The South Stream pipeline is designed to annually pump 31 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and on to other European countries, but its capacity could be increased by a further 16 billion cubic meters. The project involves Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Greece. (rian.ru)