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Hungarian MOL offers Bulgaria to join regional gas company

Date: 11.12.2007

Hungarian oil and gas company MOL proposed the foundation of a Central European natural gas transmission company.

The company would aim at improving security of supply, expand gas networks and improve the region's ability to attract financing for gas networks.

MOL had invited transmission firms from Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia to connect their gas networks into a jointly owned corporation.

MOL said that the companies it had approached, received the proposal positively.

If realised, the company would become the third biggest transmission company in Europe with nearly 27 000 km of pipelines.

According to MOL, the networks in these countries were “adequate, but are not sufficiently connected with each other. The small number of international connections makes the systems vulnerable and uncompetitive.”

Reuters quoted MOL CEO Gyorgy Mosonyi as saying that “it is impossible to run a fragmented system effectively and to ensure security of supply.” The project could be carried out in two years, if political, regulatory and shareholder support was secured, he said.

Austrian OMV said that it would consider the proposal. OMV's Baumgarten was to be the end-point of the planned European Nabucco pipeline, which aimed at reducing European reliance on Russian gas exports.

The Nabucco project was also planned to pass through Bulgaria, but it still lacked suppliers and customers and some critics even doubt it would ever be built.

European Commission spokesman Ferran Tarradellas welcomed MOL's proposal saying that “we wish good luck to the promoters and hope that this will lead to more investment in network infrastructure and thus more security of supply and more competition in the market.”

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