Black Sea gas pipeline to Ukraine is gaining support, EU says

16:15, 05 June 2008
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Major EU energy companies support the pipeline

A natural-gas pipeline under the Black Sea from Georgia to Ukraine is gathering support among major energy companies, the European Union`s executive arm said, according to Bloomberg.

``Support for the project is gaining,`` Ferran Tarradellas Espuny, energy spokesman at the European Commission, said in an e-mail today. ``Serious energy companies are interested,`` he said, declining to be more specific.

The $4 billion White Stream pipeline would carry gas from Azerbaijan, through Georgia under the Black Sea to Ukraine with a possible separate spur running back across the sea to Romania. The link would be the first to get Caspian gas to Europe without passing through Russia or Turkey.

The developers of White Stream have asked the EU to fund a feasibility study into the pipeline.

The 27-member European Union, which relies on Russia for a quarter of its gas supplies, supports the construction of new pipelines to bring fuel from the Caspian and Central Asia. The commission has already pledged support to the Nabucco pipeline that would bring gas from Azerbaijan through Turkey into Europe.

The Black Sea crossing from Georgia to Crimea near Feodosia in Ukraine is 650 kilometers (400 miles).

Construction of the first of the project`s proposed pipelines, with a capacity of 8 billion cubic meters a year, could be completed in seven to eight years` time, Roberto Pirani, who is promoting White Stream, said last year.

Pirani said in later stages, gas from Turkmenistan and other countries will be needed to increase flows through the pipeline. White Steam may be connected to a future trans-Caspian link, he said.


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