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Nabucco Consortium Sticks to 2014 Timetable

The consortium for the Nabucco pipeline said on March 25 it was sticking to its timetable for gas flows to start in 2014, after the European Union Energy Commissioner said he did not expect flows to start until 2018.

"We are aiming to start with the construction at the end of 2011 and we'll expect first gas to flow at the end of 2014," Nabucco's Managing Director Reinhard Mitschek said in a statement from Vienna.

Mitschek also said the pipeline, eventually expected to carry 31 billion cubic metres a year , would be filled step by step. It would start with 8 to 10 bcm/year and build additional compressor stations over the following four years.

In Brussels, EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a statement he was confident Nabucco would stay on track for a planned start-up in 2014, contradicting an interview with him published in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The EU-backed 3,300 kilometre pipeline, which could cost 7.9 billion euros , is designed to bring gas from Central Asia and Azerbaijan to the EU to diversify the bloc's gas sources and make it less dependent on its main supplier Russia. The project has already been subject to several delays.

The consortium consists of RWE of Germany, Austria's OMV, Hungary's MOL, Bulgarian Energy Holding, Transgaz of Romania and Botas of Turkey.

Oettinger said a conference with all stakeholders would take place in July, either in Brussels or in Istanbul.

Oettinger also said another project, Russia's South Stream which will run across the bed of the Black Sea to bypass Ukraine, needed to be built, complementing a third and most advanced project, the subsea Baltic Sea gas pipeline on which construction starts in April.

Ukraine's gas disputes with Moscow have repeatedly led to supplies to Europe being cut off.

Source: Reuters

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