RWE says reviews strategic requirements of Nabucco

DUESSELDORF Sat May 12, 2012 2:45pm EDT

DUESSELDORF May 12 (Reuters) - RWE, Germany's No.2 utility, is reviewing strategic requirements regarding the Nabucco gas pipeline project, a spokeswoman said on Saturday, adding the company had not made a decision to exit the project.

"We continue to be convinced that Nabucco in its original shape is the best solution for all stakeholders (suppliers, customers, network operators).

"In light of changing conditions through the planning of new pipeline projects, we are currently examining whether our commercial and strategic requirements concerning Nabucco continue to be preserved," the spokeswoman said.

German magazine Der Spiegel reported that senior executives of RWE had signalled to policy-makers in Berlin and Brussels the company may soon exit the Nabucco consortium, citing no sources.

The 4,000-km, 31-billion-cubic-metre (bcm) capacity Nabucco pipeline, which has been the pet project of the European Union as it aims to reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies, has so far failed to sign any gas supply deals.

It was initially aimed at transporting vast amounts of central Asian gas through Turkey and into Europe, but will have to downsize to meet lower demand.

Critics have long said that its cost - estimated at more than $12 billion - was too high and that it would struggle to find enough gas to fill it with non-Russian supplies.

Nabucco's six shareholders are OMV, RWE, MOL , Turkey's Botas, BEH of Bulgaria and Romania's Transgaz.

RWE earlier this year voiced concern over the project, adding it was interested in the new Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline project (TANAP), while Hungary's MOL in late April said it may sell its stake in the project. (Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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