By John Irish
Consortium, including Crescent and Dana Gas, intends pumping gas from Kurdistan through to Europe.
A deal that could kickstart the Nabucco gas pipeline project and reduce Europe's dependence on Russia was no tragedy for Moscow, a Russian official said on Sunday.Russia opposes the Nabucco scheme and is developing the rival South Stream project to supply Europe.
Moscow signed deals to accelerate South Stream on Friday. "I don't see any tragic events (in this Iraq deal)," Alexander Saltanov, Russia's special presidential representative for the Middle East and deputy minister of foreign affairs, told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Jordan.
Supplies from Iraq's Kurdistan region through Nabucco would not make Russian gas supplies any less attractive to Europe in the future, Saltanov said.
Austria's OMV and Hungary's MOL formed a consortium with Sharjah-based Crescent and its affiliate Dana Gas on Sunday to pump up to 3 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas from Iraq's Kurdish region. Around half that could feed the Nabucco pipeline to Europe.
Europe relies on Russia for around a quarter of its imports. A cut-off in Russian supplies to Europe last winter, due to a dispute with Ukraine, left thousands without heating and added urgency to Europe's search to diversify gas sources. (Reuters)