Hungarian oil and gas group MOL is ready to sell its stake in the Nabucco gas pipeline consortium if necessary as it has serious concerns over the project, MOL Chairman-CEO Zsolt Hernadi told a news conference on Thursday.
“We have signalled that we are ready to sell our shares if necessary…we merely had to send a very very strong signal now that we are not willing to finance this any longer,” Hernadi said, after MOL held its annual shareholder meeting.
MOL has voiced doubts over Nabucco several times since 2010 due to the project’s uncertain costs and gas supply sources and concerns over its structure and management, MOL said earlier this week when it announced it would not finance the 2012 budget of NIC, the company that will deliver Nabucco.
Hernadi said financing Nabucco had cost about 20 million euros for the MOL group and NIC was not appropriately managed.
He said central eastern Europe needed alternative supply sources, but no one had answered vital questions about Nabucco concerning gas sources, costs, shipping costs, and this way MOL could no longer finance NIC.
“This is not a club where you can enter or which you can leave, but a company where we have a capital stake,” Hernadi said, adding MOL had quit financing but for the shares to be sold, it obviously needed a buyer.
“Today nobody talks about that old big Nabucco dream that for God knows how much, we don’t even know this number, we bring gas from the Caspian region to … neighbouring Austria,” he said.
“Who will provide gas into the pipeline, under what conditions it will be shipped, what will be the transit conditions … there is no answer. There has not been an answer for over 10 years.”
The Nabucco consortium also includes Germany’s RWE , Hungary’s MOL, Turkey’s Botas, BEH of Bulgaria and Romania’s Transgaz.
The 4,000 km, 31 billion cubic meter (bcm) capacity pipeline, a pet project of the European Union as it aims to reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies, has so far failed to sign any gas supply deals.
The pipeline which is expected to cost more than $12 billion, is intended to transport central Asian gas through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary into Austria and western Europe.