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New Talk of South Stream - Nabucco link

The rival Nabucco and South Stream natural gas pipelines could join in Bulgaria to save costs, a Russian gas advocate said in Moscow.

Paolo Scaroni, the chief executive at Italian energy giant ENI, said in early March that operating costs would drop by linking rival pipeline projects Nabucco and South Stream. ENI is a partner in the South Stream consortium.

Europe is lobbying potential non-Russia gas suppliers for Nabucco to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector. Moscow, for its part, aims to diversify to its gas transit options by building the South Stream pipeline through the Balkans to avoid politically sensitive territory in Ukraine.

Valery Yazev, the president of the Russian Gas Society, said linking the two projects in Bulgaria was a reasonable consideration, the Sofia News Agency reports. "We will build the section of the South Stream under the Black Sea, after which it enters Bulgaria," he said. "Nabucco on the other hand may give up the construction of the pipeline section in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, so that it can join the South Stream in Bulgaria."

Officials in Sofia said they hope to position Bulgaria as a regional energy hub with the two pipelines passing through its territory.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko dismissed a South Stream - Nabucco link during a March 15 trip to Bulgaria.

Source: UPI

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