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Romania: Nabucco is Gazprom hegemony, we want compensation

Staff writer |
Romanian President Traian Basescu has asked for compensation from the EU for the abandoned Nabucco pipeline project which had been planned to carry Azeri gas to Austria through Romanian territory.

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"Romania considers itself entitled to be compensated for the abandonment of the Nabucco project. Bear in mind that Romania, supporting this European project, didn't hesitate between South Stream and Nabucco, and simply said Nabucco," said Mr. Basescu, according to the Romanian press.

Last June, the consortium managing the offshore Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan chose the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) over Nabucco to carry 10 billion cubic metres of gas per year (bcm/y) to Europe.

Nabucco was supposed to take the gas from the Turkish border across Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to a gas hub near Vienna. TAP will take gas from the Turkish border across Greece and Albania, with an offshore section to southern Italy.

South Stream is a Gazprom project positioned as a rival to Nabucco. It is planned to bring Russian gas across the Black Sea to Bulgaria, continuing its route through Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, to reach northern Italy. Branches of South Stream are planned to bring gas also to Bosnia and Croatia. According to the latest map on the South Stream website, the pipeline would bypass Romania.

But the contention that Romania "didn't hesitate" between South Stream and Nabucco is disputed. In 2010, Romania gave Gazprom all the documentation relevant for building the South Stream pipeline through Romanian territory. That move was seen as an attempt by Gazprom to put pressure on Bulgaria, which has always been Gazprom's preferred entry point for the offshore pipeline.

The notion that countries had to “choose” between South Stream and Nabucco has also been contested. Bulgarian leaders have long bragged that their country would be key for both pipelines. The European Commission has always denied that it has put any pressure on any EU country for any particular pipeline, saying only that it considers the so-called Southern gas corridor to be a priority, because it would contribute to the diversification of supplies and to energy security.

Mr. Basescu described South Stream as "a consolidation of the Gazprom hegemony".

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