Russian gas monopoly OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS) said Monday it was ready to look at participation in the European Union's Nabucco pipeline aimed at feeding huge amounts of gas each year from the Caspian Sea to Europe.
"If there are such propositions we will examine them," a Gazprom spokesman told Moscow Echo radio.
He said that currently none of the countries participating in the project, which would reduce European Union dependence on Russian gas, was capable of supplying the necessary amounts needed to make the pipeline viable.
The European Commission has been told that "Gazprom cannot be left out of this project," the Gazprom spokesman said.
Gazprom is backing a rival pipeline project called South Stream.
The Nabucco pipeline is a EUR5-billion venture to feed 31 billion cubic meters of gas each year from the Caspian Sea to Europe from 2012 at the earliest.
The partners include RWE AG (RWE.XE) of Germany, OMV AG (OMV.VI) of Austria, MOL Nyrt (MOL.BU) of Hungary, Transgaz of Romania, Bulgargaz of Bulgaria and Botas of Turkey.
The Nabucco line, 3,300 kilometers in length, would run from the Caspian Sea via Turkey and the Balkan states to Austria. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2009, with completion set for 2012.
The South Stream pipeline, being built by Gazprom and Eni SpA (E) of Italy, would carry Russian gas to Bulgaria, from which one branch would supply Austria while another would run south toward Greece and Romania.
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