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Oct 19, 2009 18:29 EEST
October 19 (SeeNews) - White Stream, a planned private gas pipeline from Georgia to Romania, pitches itself as an alternative route for deliveries of Azeri and Turkmen gas to Europe, Reuters reported on Monday.
The cost of the project is estimated to be "under $4 billion [2.7 billion euro]", Reuters quoted Giorgi Vashakmadze, corporate development director of the project company GUEU White Stream, as saying.
The pipeline could start pumping 8 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Caspian gas annually in five or six years, Vashakmadze told Reuters in an interview. The first 8-bcm stage could be viable with gas coming just from Azerbaijan but the capacity could then grow to 32 bcm to accomodate Turkmen volumes, he added.
The seabed pipeline was originally planned to go from Georgia to Ukraine, but Vashakmadze said a direct link to the European Union was a preferred option, although an additional string to Ukraine could be added later.
"We were very happy (to find out) that a longer route to Romania is feasible economically and technically," he said.
A row between Russia, which accounts for about a quarter of European gas imports, and Ukraine, which serves as a transit country for most Russian gas, left several European countries without supplies for several weeks in January. The row has prompted Europe to accelerate work on the Southern Gas Corridor, a network of pipelines bypassing Russia which includes the Nabucco link via Turkey as well as White Stream, Reuters said.
It added Vashakmadze declined to name all the stakeholders of the White Stream project, only describing them as "a consortium of several small and medium-sized companies" led by Britain's Pipeline Systems Engineering.
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