UPDATE 1-Nabucco signs cooperation deal with TANAP

Mon Mar 4, 2013 11:32am GMT

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* Nabucco, TANAP sign strategic, technical cooperation deal

* Azeri gas field operator to make pipeline choice by June (Adds details, background)

VIENNA, March 4 (Reuters) - The Nabucco consortium competing to build a pipeline to bring Azeri gas to Europe said on Monday it had signed a cooperation deal with Turkey's Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP).

Nabucco said the two parties had agreed to exchange technical and other strategic information to support the development of their projects, which will connect at the Turkish-Bulgarian border if the Nabucco project is chosen.

Nabucco is competing with the Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) to carry natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II gas field to half a billion potential consumers in Europe, reducing Europe's dependence on Russian gas.

TANAP will bring the gas from Azerbaijan to the European edge of Turkey, to connect with either Nabucco or TAP.

The operators of the Shah Deniz field - BP, Statoil , Azeri state energy firm SOCAR, Total and others - have an equity option on both rival projects. They have said they will choose one by June.

The chosen project will bring billions of dollars of investment to the countries through which the pipeline will travel - Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria in the case of Nabucco West, and Greece, Albania and Italy if TAP is chosen.

The Nabucco consortium's other members are Austria's OMV , Hungary's MOL Turkey's Botas, Bulgaria's BEH and Romania's Transgaz.

TAP's members are Switzerland's AXPO Holding, Statoil and Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Michael Shields and Jason Neely)

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