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Nabucco Gets Over 60 Bids in Prequalification Tender

The Nabucco pipeline venture, planned to carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe, got more than 60 prequalification bids from companies to supply about $3.5 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in pipes.

“We got more than we expected and the applicants are practically the most important pipe suppliers in the world,” Vlad Pavlovschi, general manager of Nabucco Gas Pipeline Romania SRL, said today in a telephone interview from Vienna. The applications are being evaluated by an independent auditor, he said, declining to provide more details.

The prequalification tender for long-lead items including line pipes, valves and bends ended May 17. Companies that meet requirements will be invited for the actual tender in July, the OMV AG-led venture said last month. Nabucco will need about 2 million tons of steel.

The 7.9 billion-euro pipeline is planned to stretch more than 3,300 kilometers (2,050 miles) from Turkey to Austria to send gas to Europe and reduce the region’s dependence on Russia.

The venture partners, which also include Budapest-based Mol Nyrt., Germany’s RWE AG, Bulgargaz EAD, Romania’s Transgaz SA and Ankara-based Botas, will decide on the investment by the end of this year. Construction is set to begin in 2011 and shipments may start by the end of 2014 or early 2015, according to Nabucco’s website.

Europipe GmbH, half-owned by German steelmaker Salzgitter AG, and Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi & Ticaret AS, a Turkish maker of steel and plastic pipes, said earlier this month they applied for prequalification.

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