Sofia backs Nabucco natural gas pipeline

March 13, 2012 at 7:18 AM

SOFIA, Bulgaria, March 13 (UPI) -- The Bulgarian government said it was calling on lawmakers to ratify a contract with Nabucco Gas Pipeline International.

The Cabinet announced Tuesday it approved an agreement with Nabucco and called on the Parliament to ratify the contract, the Sofia News Agency reports.

"This is an obligation of every country party to the Nabucco project, with which countries commit to creating beneficial regulatory conditions for the execution of the project and giving companies executing it the needed support," the report stated.

Europe is looking for ways to break the Russian grip on the natural gas sector by pursuing a series of pipelines for the so-called Southern Corridor. Of those, Nabucco is the most ambitious though its $10 billion price tag and lack of firm supplier commitments is causing critics to emerge.

Nabucco Gas Pipeline International announced last month, however, that it was ready to start land acquisition studies in more than 20 provinces in Turkey.

Turkish officials had said Nabucco was important because European demands for natural gas won't be met even if all projects in the Southern Corridor eventually come on stream.

The pipeline would link the eastern Turkish border to Austria via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

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