RWE sells Nabucco pipeline stake to OMV

German utilities giant RWE has sold its 17 percent stake in Europe's troubled Nabucco gas pipeline project to OMV for an undisclosed sum, the Austrian oil and gas group said on Sunday.

The two companies had said in December that they were in talks, and in February OMV's chief executive Gerhard Roiss said that the Austrian company would acquire the stake.

An OMV spokesman confirmed the acquisition to AFP on Sunday, without providing any financial details. RWE also confirmed the deal, saying the transaction was completed in March.

Initially the Nabucco project aimed to transport some 30 billion cubic metres of gas per year from the Caspian Sea to Europe.

Originally planned to run through Turkey to Austria via Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, the 3,900-kilometre (2,400-mile) pipeline has been plagued by problems, including a lack of potential suppliers, that have repeatedly delayed the start of construction.

In a bid to breathe life back into the project, its shareholders have proposed a shorter, less costly pipeline, known as Nabucco West, which will transport 10-23 billion cubic metres of gas from the Bulgarian-Turkish border to Austria.

Other members of the consortium include MOL of Hungary, Romania's Transgaz, Bulgaria's Bulgargas and Botas of Turkey.

Russia has kept up commercial pressure on the project by building the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany, and in December began construction of South Stream through southern Europe to Austria.

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