No merger for pipelines, Eni says

Jan. 11, 2011 at 8:14 AM

ROME, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- It's impossible to have the Nabucco gas pipeline for Europe and Russian-backed rival South Stream merge, said the top executive of an Italian energy company.

David Thorne, the U.S. envoy to Paris, was quoted by Italian news agency La Stampa as saying Italian gas company Eni, a member of the South Stream project consortium was in favor of "a merger between the South Stream and Nabucco pipelines."

Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom is pushing for the South Stream pipeline through southern Europe in part to avoid politically sensitive gas transit routes in Ukraine. European partners are pressing for the planned Nabucco pipeline, which would rely on non-Russian suppliers for gas.

Eni Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni was quoted Tuesday by La Stampa, however, as saying it was currently "impossible" to have to two pipelines converge because neither one existed at this point.

South Stream could move more than 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to European consumers each year by 2015. Nabucco, meanwhile, would transport more than 1 trillion cubic feet of gas to European consumers when gas starts to flow through the pipeline by 2015.

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