OMV, BP, Shell Hope to Use Nabucco

LONDON -- Austria's OMV is in talks with BP and Royal Dutch Shell to buy Azeri and Iraqi natural gas for transport through the planned Nabucco pipeline, which the European Union hopes will reduce its reliance on Russian imports.

OMV spokesman Thomas Huemer said the talks with BP were related to its leading role in the Shakh-Deniz project in Azerbaijan, while Shell has signed a gas deal with Baghdad that could lead to it becoming a major producer there.

The Nabucco consortium hopes that gas from phase two of the Shakh-Deniz project will be the bedrock of supplies to help start the pipeline, with additional supplies coming later from Iraq and possibly Iran and the Caspian region.

The shareholders are OMV, Romanian pipeline operator Transgaz, German utility RWE, Hungarian oil firm MOL, Turkish pipeline operator Botas and Bulgarian state gas firm Bulgargaz.