VIENNA, April 3 Gazprom's Western
partners for the Nord Stream 2 will decide by the end of 2017
how to get involved in the pipeline project, which the Russian
group is now financing on its own, the chief executive of
Austrian energy group OMV said.
Last July Uniper, Wintershall, Shell
, OMV and Engie withdrew from pledges to
provide equity for the 8 billion euro ($8.5 billion) pipeline
after Poland's cartel office blocked its clearance.
"We as European partners have to find out how we want to
support this project further. We will agree on this as a new
basis for the partners this year," Seele told Reuters in an
interview on Monday. "I am also getting impatient."
The European Union is divided over the plan. Eastern
European and Baltic countries think a new pipeline carrying
Russian gas across the Baltic will make the EU a hostage to
Moscow, while those in northern Europe -- especially main
beneficiary Germany -- see above all the economic benefits.
EU sources said the bloc might try to delay the final
construction of Nord Stream 2 as long as possible because there
may ultimately be no legal basis to block approval.
Seele declined to go into details of possible alternative
financing for the project, but said after the Polish decision he
could no longer become a shareholder. "The risk is too high," he
"We only build the pipeline capacity, we don't commit in any
form to take additional gas volumes as an importer," he said.
The initial plan would have seen Western firms getting 10
percent stakes each while putting in 1.2 billion euros and
Gazprom 50 percent of the venture for the 55 billion cubic meter
($1 = 0.9384 euros)
(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla and Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich;
Editing by Michael Shields)