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EU committed to non-Russian gas

Feb. 27, 2013 at 8:19 AM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The European Union wants a dedicated pipeline to deliver natural gas from consumers outside the eurozone, the EU energy commissioner said.

Europe aims to secure more natural gas from non-Russian suppliers in order to provide protection from geopolitical concerns over Gazprom's role in Eastern Europe. Europe is probing Gazprom's market activity in the region.

European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger told the Trend news service that European consumers want an uninterrupted supply of natural gas from alternative suppliers.

"The aim of the commission has always been to open the Southern Corridor for the EU in order to directly and physically link the EU gas market to the largest deposits of gas in the world in the Caspian Sea basin and the Middle East," he said.

The Southern Corridor is a network of pipelines that includes the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and Nabucco-West.

A BP-led group working in the Shah Deniz gas field offshore Azerbaijan is expected to choose between the two projects by June.

Oettinger said the first priority is getting a secure source of natural gas, however.

"Our policy remains that we firstly, want to see a dedicated pipeline to be built outside the EU," he said.

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