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Romania Pledges Nabucco Gas Pipeline Won’t Be State-Controlled

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Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Romania, a transit country for the OMV AG-led Nabucco natural-gas pipeline, published a draft law pledging non-state control of its section of the link as the country seeks to reassure potential investors in the project.

“It’s necessary to clarify the Nabucco ownership regime,” the Economy Ministry said in the bill on its website. “The project will be carried out through private investment and investors need guarantees to invest.”

The ministry is seeking to clarify pipe ownership rules to ensure that Nabucco’s construction goes ahead as planned. The European Union-backed link would run for 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) from Turkey to Austria via Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, where current laws stipulate that gas pipes belong to the state.

“The unclear law provisions and the resulting uncertainties may be a major impediment against the project, as investors won’t agree to finance a pipeline which will be turned into a state asset,” the ministry said.

The Nabucco venture is competing with the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, known as TAP, for rights to export gas from the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan’s part of the Caspian Sea. It would help the EU diversify supplies away from Russia, which provides a quarter of the bloc’s gas.

The Romanian section of the pipeline would be about 470 kilometers long, according to the Nabucco venture’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Irina Savu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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