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Companies downplay reports trans-Balkan pipelines is imminent. (International Highlights).

ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco shrugged off reports that they are considering building a trans-Balkan pipeline to ship oil westward from the Caspian and the Black seas. The head of Albanian, Macedonian and Bulgarian Oil Corp. (AMBO), which manages the project, said the two giants were in regular discussions on the project, which envisions carrying Caspian oil from Bulgaria to Albania through Macedonia.

An ExxonMobil spokeswoman said the notion that it might get involved in building the line was "very, very premature," adding that "there have been some discussions but they have been very preliminary."

The AMBO project, which has been on the drawing board since 1996, aims to bring growing oil supplies from Caspian states such as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. bypassing the heavily used Bosphorus Straits through Turkey. Edward Ferguson, president and CEO of AMBO, said ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco were considering building a $1.13 billion trans-Balkan pipeline to ship oil westward from the Caspian and the Black Sea.

He said the project would be fully financed by Western companies and the three Balkan countries just had to provide institutional support. He said the main consumers of the oil carried through the trans-Balkan pipeline would be northwestern Europe and the U.S. rather than the Mediterranean region.

AMBO was confident that another planned $607 million pipeline sending crude oil from Russia to Greece through Bulgaria would not threaten its own project as the two had targeted different investors and consumers.

The second project envisages carrying 38 million tons of crude oil per year from the Russian port of Novorosiisk by tanker to Bourgas in Bulgaria, from where the 256-km underground pipeline will transfer the oil to Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece.
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Comment:Companies downplay reports trans-Balkan pipelines is imminent. (International Highlights).
Publication:Pipeline & Gas Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXBU
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:279
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