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OMV, RWE say plan for Nabucco not hurt by Georgia

Utilities OMV and RWE said the current conflict in Georgia is not affecting their plans to build the Nabucco pipeline to transport gas from the Caucasus region and central Asia to Europe.

Even the armed conflict in Georgia only briefly affect gas flows through the country, both parties said, demonstrating that gas supplies are reliable even in times of tensions.

“Our experience is that pipelines are working once they lie on the ground, even when there is a crisis,” said a spokesman for Austria's OMV, which leads the consortium of six companies that plan to build the 3,300-kilometer (2,051 miles) link.

Europe is seeking to access gas from suppliers other than Russian monopoly Gazprom, which delivers about a quarter of Europe's gas needs, as supplies from European sources such as the North Sea dwindle.

The Nabucco consortium is also keeping its options open on filling Nabucco from suppliers outside the Caucasian region, including Egypt, Iraq and Iran, a spokesman for the consortium said.

The consortium aims to ship gas through the first section of the link from 2013 and has already had indications of interest for more than twice the volume of gas the pipeline can carry, it has said.

“Building of the pipeline starts in 2010; we hope that the situation in the region calms down,” said a spokesman for RWE.

The consortium hopes to seal agreements with the countries the pipeline passes through by the end of the year, RWE said.

Nabucco's shareholders are OMV, Hungary's MOL, Romania's Transgaz, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz, Turkey's Botas and Germany's RWE. (Reuters)