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2010 year of Nabucco, Mitshcek says

VIENNA, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Despite concerns over contracts to fulfill the pipeline needs, 2010 could be the year of Nabucco, the managing director of the pipeline consortium said.

Europe aims to break the Russian stranglehold on the European energy sector with its Nabucco natural gas pipeline. Despite political will for the project, it lacks firm commitments from non-Russian gas suppliers.

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Directors involved in the project said recently that the project may not move forward without significant backing. But Reinhard Mitschek, the managing director of the Nabucco consortium, told The Wall Street Journal he is as optimistic as ever.

"You could say 2010 is indeed the Nabucco year," he said.

Construction on the project is slated for 2011, though who will pay the estimated $11 billion price tag for the pipeline is in question.

Mitschek brushed off financial concerns, saying the money would develop.

"There are concerns," he said. "But they are not concerns that we share fortunately."

Nabucco recently won agreements from Iraq for possible gas supplies, and Mitschek said he expects Azerbaijan to follow suit.

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