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Nabucco lagging behind Russia’s South Stream project?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 7
Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project appears to increasing in momentum, attracting countries that formerly supported the Western-backed rival Nabucco project.

Both projects are aimed at transiting gas to the heart of Europe. The Nabucco project plans to take gas from Azerbaijan to Austria via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, while the South Stream project plans to take Russian natural gas to Italy and Austria.

The South Stream project received a major boost this year after Bulgaria signed up on January 18, with Hungary following suit on February 28.

Meanwhile Nabucco faced a setback when French energy company Gaz de France announced plans to back South Stream on February 7, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Moscow marking Hungary’s incorporation into South Stream, Putin derided Nabucco-backers for not having secured gas supplies for their project. “There can be no competition when one project has the gas and the other does not,” the news agency Interfax quoted him as saying.

However, Professor Alan Riley of London’s City University says that with Russia facing a significant gas resourcing problem due to lack of investment, Putin has the wrong end of the stick.

“Ironically, although the Russians have been talking down Nabucco as not having enough gas, in fact the reverse is the case,” he told the Messenger yesterday.