Austria's OMV acquires RWE's Nabucco pipeline stake

15 April 2013 11:01  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--OMV has acquired German energy utility company RWE's 16.67% stake in the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline project, the Austrian oil, gas and petrochemicals group said on Monday.

The price of the transaction, which makes OMV the largest Nabucco shareholder by boosting its stake to 33.34%, was not disclosed by either party.

Nabucco was originally conceived to deliver a 3,900km (2,424 mile) pipeline system that would transport gas from the Caspian Sea to Austria's Baumgarten natural gas hub.

The pipeline would run along a “southern corridor” route, avoiding Russia – and thus cut the EU's level of dependence on Moscow-sanctioned gas deliveries.

However, following criticism that the project would not be able to sign enough gas-supply contracts to make such an ambitious pipeline viable, the Nabucco consortium, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International, switched to a scaled-down version of the project – the 1,300km Nabucco West.

Nabucco West is bidding to export Azerbaijani gas – already transported to the Bulgaria-Turkey border by Azeri-Turkish pipeline infrastructure – into the EU.

In January, the Nabucco consortium said it had reached an “in principle” funding agreement with the energy and gas firms developing Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II natural gas project, which could bring in new equity partners.

The consortium's other existing shareholders are Turkey's Botas, Hungary's MOL, Romania's Transgaz and Bulgarian Energy.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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