FRANKFURT Nov 1 German utility company RWE
(RWEG.DE) said it is not in talks with Iran regarding the
country's participation in the 7.9 billion euro ($11.71 billion)
Nabucco gas pipeline project.
A senior Iranian energy official said Tehran was holding
"unofficial" talks with some European firms about its
participation in Nabucco, the semi-official Mehr News agency
reported on Saturday [ID:nDAH147337]
"Definitely, the Nabucco pipeline will not become
operational in the absence of Iran," the news agency quoted Reza
Kasaeizadeh, managing director of the state National Iranian Gas
Export Company, as saying.
Nabucco plans to transport up to 31 billion cubic metres of
gas a year from the Caspian region to an Austrian gas hub via
Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.
The pipeline, set to pump its first gas in 2014, should
lessen Europe's dependence on Russian gas but faces competition
from a similar project launched by Russia's Gazprom (GAZP.MM).
"We are not in talks with Iran on its participation in the
Nabucco consortium or any gas supplies," a spokesman for RWE
He reiterated that RWE did not agree that Nabucco needed
Iranian supplies to succeed and that gas from Azerbaijan, Iraq
and Turkmenistan would be more than enough.
He said the first supply contracts are expected in the first
half of the coming year.
He said Iran would remain a net importer of gas in the
foreseeable future and the current political environment does
not favour ties with Iran.
Nabucco's shareholders include Austria's OMV (OMVV.VI),
Hungary's MOL MOLB.BU, Romania's Transgaz TGNM.BX,
Bulgaria's Bulgargaz, Turkey's Botas and Germany's RWE
(Editing by David Cowell)