Azerbaijan, Baku, 12 February/ corr. Trend A. Badalova/ The European Commission has approved an exemption of the Austrian section of the Nabucco natural gas pipeline from regulated third party access in line with the EU legislation, the European Union said.
The Commission has requested the Austrian energy regulator to include additional safeguards regarding the future capacity allocation, in order to ensure that the planned pipeline will have a positive effect on competition.
"The Commission decision on Nabucco shows our support for this project, which will boost Europe's efforts to diversify our supply sources and our gas supply routes. The project is important not only for the countries involved but will also contribute to strengthening competition and promoting security in the gas supply for the European Union as a whole", said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The Nabucco company has applied for exemption from the general rule of regulated third party access in all four Member States concerned - Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria.
Such exemptions are provided for in the EU legislation and allow major new infrastructure projects to determine the capacity allocation and transport tariffs more freely.
The Nabucco project consists of a 3,300 km pipeline, with a planned maximum capacity of 31 bln cu m per year. It will help ensure the provision of gas to Europe from producers in the Middle East and Caspian region. The pipeline will cross Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and will end in Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria. Work is expected to begin in 2009 and should be completed in 2012. The Nabucco project is included in the EU Trans-European Energy Network program, while the European Council of March 2007 identified as one of the priority projects that will benefit from a coordinator
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