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EU, Turkey pledge support for key gas pipeline.

THE EUROPEAN Union (EU), Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria have pledged support for the Nabucco pipeline carrying gas from Azerbaijan, bypassing Russia, increasingly viewed as an unreliable energy partner.

EU energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, and the five countries linked by the pipeline (also including EU member states Hungary and Austria) have signed a joint statement promising to "successfully complete" the project. Martin Bartenstein, economy minister for outgoing EU president Austria, said: "The Nabucco pipeline is one of the most important European energy projects, which allows the EU to diversify its transport routes and gas supplier countries". One key problem, however, is pressure from the prospective Nabucco consortium for exemptions from EU liberalisation rules forcing them to allow competitors access to the pipeline at regulated prices. Piebalgs said the Commission was considering concessions: "It costs a lot of money for new infrastructure--and payback times for investments are very long ... all issues must be coordinated and resolved in a proper order."
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Author:Nuthall, Keith
Publication:International News
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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