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Putin upbeat on weakened Nabucco

April 30, 2012 at 9:57 AM
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MOSCOW, April 30 (UPI) -- Russia might be able to take advantage of the doubts emerging over the planned Nabucco natural gas pipeline, an analyst said.

Hungarian energy company MOL, a Nabucco pipeline consortium member, expressed doubts over sources and costs tied to the $10.4 billion natural gas pipeline planned for Europe. Hungary gets about 80 percent of its natural gas from Russia and the government recently backed South Stream, Russia's counterpart to Nabucco.

Nabucco is part of a series of gas transit networks outlined in the Southern Corridor, a group of European pipeline networks meant to break Russia's grip on the regional energy sector.

A series of disagreements between Russian energy company Gazprom and gas transit nation Ukraine exposed risks in the use of conventional export pipelines for Europe. Moscow is pushing ahead with its Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic Sea and the planned South Stream pipeline for southern Europe to get around Ukraine.

Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Moscow's investment bank Troika Dialog, told online news service New Europe that Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin could take advantage of the Nabucco situation.

"There is now very little support or even interest in Nabucco in Brussels," he was quoted as saying. "Nabucco is a wounded animal and Putin is pushing in for the kill."

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