UPI Energy Watch

By ANDREA R. MIHAILESCU, UPI Energy Correspondent

Hungary supports Nabucco, South Stream pipeline plans

Hungary supports the plans to build the Nabucco and the South Stream gas pipelines toward ensuring its own energy security, David Daroczi, spokesman for the Hungarian government, said in a statement.


Under the EU-backed Nabucco, Central Asian gas will be supplied to Europe bypassing Russia; under South Stream, Russian gas will go to South European countries.

The latest conflict between Russia and Ukraine over gas confirmed the Hungarian government's view that the construction of the Nabucco and the South Stream pipelines will ensure Hungary's security, the document says.

Daroczi said Hungary now receives 85 percent of gas it consumes along the only gas pipeline.

"This will be hazardous if technical problems arise," the statement says. It is important for Hungary to remove these risks, and the government fully supports the implementation of the Nabucco project for the purpose."


The agreement on Hungary joining the South Stream gas pipeline project was signed in Moscow last week. Hungary has, however, been unable to clear all the differences connected with Nabucco.

Lithuania, Sweden voice environmental fears about Nord Stream

The Lithuanian and Swedish environment ministries jointly agreed to protect the Baltic Sea from the "possible negative effects" of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline project, the Lithuanian ministry said.

Nord Stream is a planned pipeline to carry gas from Russia to Germany and lie on the Baltic Sea floor.

"The environment ministers of Lithuania and Sweden have come to an agreement that both states will constantly exchange information on the planned pipeline and will cooperate more closely in seeking to protect the Baltic Sea from possible negative effects of the pipeline," the Lithuanian ministry's press service said.

The service was referring to a meeting in Brussels between the Lithuanian and Swedish environment ministers, Arturas Paulauskas and Andreas Carlgren.

At the meeting, Paulauskas expressed fear the work of laying the pipeline may stir up chemical weapons dumped on the seafloor after World War II.

Paulauskas suggested Baltic countries join forces to press Nord Stream authors more persistently to come up with alternative routes that would bypass the Baltic Sea and that they demand an independent environmental test for the project.


Carlgren said the Swedish government had turned down the Nord Stream project. He said the project contained serious faults and that no alternative project had been offered.

Lithuanian Cabinet to push for nuke plant

The Lithuanian government will try to persuade the EU to allow the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant to remain operational beyond its scheduled closure in late 2009 and expects these negotiations will be successful, Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said.

A study conducted by the Lithuanian Energy Institute to assess the effects of the Ignalina plant's closure on the country's economic security after 2010 has shown that the country will be in a difficult energy situation following the shutdown.

The study was submitted to the government on Monday.

"The study provides concrete estimates. The closure of the second unit of the INPP would make Lithuania fully dependent on electricity imports, for which we do not have full guarantees. We could produce around 90 percent of electricity only if we have an additional amount of gas, for which there are no agreements and no guarantees either," Kirkilas said in an interview with Lithuanian Radio.

The prime minister said that the government would submit these estimates to the European Union and the European Commission in the hope of convincing them that Lithuania would be in a complicated situation after 2010.


He added that the government expected its negotiations with Brussels to be successful.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development last December presented two studies on the situation in the electricity and gas sectors to the government and is currently conducting one more study on the impact of the Ignalina plant's switch-off.


Closing oil prices, Mar. 6, 3 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $101.99

West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $104.89


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