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OMV, Gazprom may revive Black Sea gas pipeline extension

VIENNA (Reuters) — Austrian energy group OMV and Russia's Gazprom are considering reviving a gas pipeline project through the Black Sea connecting Russia to central and southern Europe, an Austrian newspaper said on Tuesday.

OMV Gas Plant
Photo Courtesy of OMV.

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the issue during Kern's visit to an economic forum in St Petersburg this month, Der Standard said, citing insiders.

OMV and Gazprom had signed an outline deal in the Russian city to coordinate "the development of the gas transmission infrastructure required for providing natural gas supplies to central and southeastern Europe."

A source familiar with the plans told Reuters it was too early to talk about project costs and investments. If realized, the project would likely boost the importance of OMV's Baumgarten gas hub, which distributes around 57 Bcm a year.

Der Standard said the project would be an extension of the TurkStream pipeline, which Gazprom plans to finish by the end of 2019. The extended line could pump Russian gas to Italy, which currently receives supplies from Baumgarten via the TAG and SOL pipelines.

Alternatively, Russian gas could go from western Turkey via Greece to Italy.

Spokesmen for OMV and Kern declined to comment. Gazprom had no immediate comment.

Russia scrapped the South Stream pipeline project, which would have supplied Russian gas to southern Europe with an undersea pipeline to Bulgaria, in late 2014 because of objections from the European Union on competition grounds.

The dispute between Brussels and Moscow followed Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the imposition of Western economic sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, Shadia Nasralla, Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, Oksana Kobzeva; Editing by Dale Hudson


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