01 August 2011 14:18 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The Slovak economy ministry is determined to find a viable route for an oil pipeline link between Slovakia and Austria despite environmental opposition to all routes proposed so far, the ministry said on Monday.
Slovakia is targeting next year for a construction start to the delayed project to lay a two-way pipeline that would benefit the refining and petrochemical industries of both countries.
The Slovak cabinet would in September pick a revised route, allowing Austria access to Russian oil pumped westwards and Slovakia a connection to non-Russian oil pumped eastwards, the ministry added.
The length of the pipeline would consequently range between 81km (50 miles) and 152km and cost anywhere from €70m ($101m) to €112 million, it added.
The ministry said it was sympathetic to the concerns of environmental groups and civic associations that have strongly objected to the originally proposed pipeline route, which would cross Zitny Ostrov island in western Slovakia, home to the biggest high-quality drinking water reservoir in central Europe.
The 10 potential routes cross either a Carpathian Corridor or a City Corridor. The Carpathian alternatives propose the Slovak and Austrian sections of the pipeline would connect somewhere between Marchegg in eastern Austria and Zahorska Ves in western Slovakia.
The City alternatives suggest a more southerly connection near Jarovce or Petrzalka, outside the Slovak capital of Bratislava in western Slovakia, and Kittsee in eastern Austria.
The pipeline is to run from the main refinery-petrochemical complex of Austria’s OMV group in Schwechat, near Vienna, to the terminus of Russia's Druzhba pipeline in Bratislava. It would have an oil transport capacity of up to 5m tonnes/year.
Both OMV and Slovak refining and petrochemical company Slovnaft see the pipeline as offering valuable diversification of oil supplies.
($1 = €0.69)
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