SOFIA, March 6 Italy's biggest power utility
Enel is still in talks to acquire a stake in the
Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project that aims to pump Azeri
gas to Europe, a source familiar with the process said on
"Talks are ongoing," the source, who declined to be named
told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy conference in Sofia.
Last October, ENEL's chief executive Fulvio Conti said the
company was keen on taking a stake in TAP.
The source did not elaborate on the size of the stake in
discussion. Last year an industry source close to TAP said Enel
was interested in taking a 10-20 percent stake.
TAP's External Affairs Director Michael Hoffmann declined to
comment, but said the pipeline remains open to new shareholders.
TAP is competing with the Nabucco West project to carry 10
billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas per year from
Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II gas field to Europe after 2018 and
reduce the European Union's dependence on Russian gas.
TAP is proposing a route from Turkey through Albania and
Greece into Italy, while Nabucco West offers to ship gas from
Turkey's border with Bulgaria to Austria.
At present TAP's shareholders are Swiss energy company Axpo
, Norway's Statoil and E.ON Ruhrgas of
Its rival Nabucco West's shareholders include Austria's OMV
, Hungary's MOL, Turkey's Botas, Romania's
Transgaz and Bulgaria's BEH.
The Shah Deniz consortium, which comprises BP,
Statoil, Azeri energy company SOCAR and Total, has a
50-percent equity option in both rival projects. It is expected
to choose one of the two pipeline contenders by mid-2013.
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by James Jukwey)