* OMV needs pipeline to bring Black Sea gas to Europe
* RWE says sale of stake has been initiated
VIENNA Dec 7 Austrian energy group OMV
may buy German utility RWE's stake in the
Nabucco gas pipeline project that aims to bring Caspian supplies
"We are in talks with RWE about taking over their shares,"
chief executive Gerhard Roiss told reporters on Friday. Both
companies own 16.67 percent stakes in the project.
A source familiar with the matter had told Reuters on Sunday
that RWE may soon quit Nabucco and could sell its stake to OMV.
RWE had said in May it was reviewing the Nabucco project.
"We confirm that RWE Supply & Trading has initiated the sale
of RWE's stake (in Nabucco) to OMV," a spokeswoman for RWE said,
adding it would continue efforts to make Caspian gas available
to its home market through, for example, supply contracts.
The partners of Germany's second-biggest utility have
proposed a scaled-down version of the project called Nabucco
West that would run from Turkey's western border to Austria.
Nabucco West's owners, in the long term, will be countries
and companies with gas reserves bound for Europe, Roiss said,
noting RWE had no gas of its own in the Black Sea region.
"If I did not have my own gas, I also would not take part
(in Nabucco)," he said.
OMV's Romanian unit Petrom and U.S. partner Exxon
Mobil have made a potentially major Black Sea gas find.
Roiss said it would not be clear until 2014 or 2015, after
more drilling, how much gas was at hand. "If we find a lot of
gas here then we need a pipeline. You cannot develop a field
without a pipeline."
That meant it may make sense to build a version of Nabucco
for this purpose alone, even it did not win the contract to
transport Caspian gas to Europe, he said.