DUESSELDORF May 12 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
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)