Germany lobbies for rival gas pipelines

July 8, 2009 at 11:00 AM

BERLIN, July 8 (UPI) -- Germany has employed two former high-ranking officials to lobby for rival pipeline options to secure natural gas for Europe.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder sits on the consortium managing the Nord Stream pipeline from the Baltic Sea to Germany. He has lobbied aggressively for the project as a solution to Europe's energy woes.

Meanwhile, Germany's RWE, which is part of the consortium for the Nabucco pipeline for Europe, has hired former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to act as a political adviser for that project, reports the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Europe is pushing hard to diversify its energy transit networks following a January row between Moscow and Kiev over gas debts and contracts. That dispute left Europe in the cold for weeks as the majority of Russian gas for Europe travels through Soviet-era pipelines in Ukraine.

Nord Stream would bring Russian gas through the Baltic Sea along a dual route to Germany. Nabucco, for its part, would sideline Russia by bringing Caspian and Middle Eastern gas to customers in Europe.

Europe and Russia see those projects as rivals as the regional energy sector spills over to regional politics. With Germans working on both projects, however, Deutsche Welle reports that gas supplies are more secure regardless of which project wins.

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