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OMV isn't holding talks with Gazprom to join Nabucco

OMV AG, which is holding talks with potential partners to join its Nabucco natural-gas pipeline project, said Russia's OAO Gazprom isn't one of them.

„Gazprom isn't among the companies we're talking to,” OMV's CEO, Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, told reporters at a briefing yesterday. He declined to comment on which companies are negotiating with OMV about joining the project. The Nabucco project, a pipeline that could cost as much as €5 billion ($6.4 billion), already has five partners: OMV AG, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz AD, Hungary's Mol Nyrt, Romania's Transgas and Turkey's Botas.

They plan to start construction in 2008. OMV has said it may seek more than one additional partner to help finance the pipeline and broaden the business. The pipeline is intended to diversity Europe's supplies of natural gas as demand in western Europe rises, lessening its dependence on Russian gas.

The pipeline would run from Turkey to Austria, a route about 3,300 kilometers (2,051 miles) long, and carry about 31 billion cubic meters of gas a year when it opens in 2011. Russian Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said September 27 his country is interested in joining Nabucco. Russia's state-controlled gas-export monopoly, Gazprom, supplies a quarter of Europe's gas and ships about 80% of that through Ukraine. (Bloomberg)