Gazprom denies inviting RWE to South Stream gas project

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Russian gas giant Gazprom has denied inviting Germany's utility company RWE to join the South Stream gas pipeline that would cross the Black Sea and is a rival to the EU-backed project.

"This is some misunderstanding. We did not invite RWE to take part in this project, we have no need for this," a Gazprom spokesman quoted on Monday Gazprom's deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev as saying.

Medvedev spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the talks over the construction of the South Stream pipeline on the Bulgarian territory during his visit to Bulgaria on Saturday.

Medvedev noted however that the project for which Gazprom has partnered up with Italy's oil and gas major Eni and France's EDF was in principle open for other shareholders.

The German business daily Handelsblatt reported on July 12 that Gazprom had invited Germany's second-biggest energy company RWE to take part in the South Stream project to transport gas from Russia to Western Europe, and that the German group was considering the offer.

RWE is already a shareholder in the competing Nabucco project, which envisages a pipeline bypassing Russia and sending gas from the Caucasus and Central Asia to Western Europe via Turkey and the Balkans.

© 2010 AFP

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