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BP estimates higher cost for Nabucco

LONDON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The price of steel has helped push the estimated cost of the planned Nabucco natural gas pipeline to about $19 billion, BP estimates.

Europe is lobbying for a series of pipeline networks dubbed the Southern Corridor as a way to break Russia's grip on the regional energy sector. The consortium managing the pipeline from Vienna estimates the 2,000-mile pipeline will cost around $10.7 billion to build. The Guardian newspaper in London, however, said it discovered that estimates from British energy company BP put the bill at around $19 billion.

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The company blamed the spike on high commodity prices.

About 30 percent of BP's gas production from the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan would help feed the Nabucco pipeline by 2017. The project consortium said first gas could flow through the pipeline as early as 2015.

BP isn't a shareholder to the Nabucco pipeline consortium. Nevertheless, the company said it was eager to get Azeri gas to the European market.

"The Shah Deniz consortium is keen to work with the Nabucco and other pipeline groups to make sure there is a viable pipeline bringing Azeri gas to Europe in the near future," the company was quoted by the British newspaper as saying.

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