Sunday, February 28, 2010

Slovak ecologists slam oil pipe plan in unique water reservoir

Energy Daily via Agence France-Press: Plans for an oil pipeline through central Europe's largest drinking water reservoir in southwestern Slovakia have sparked outrage among Slovak environmentalists and water companies alike. Slovak state-owned downstream oil company Transpetrol is planning to connect Austria to the Druzhba pipeline -- pumping Russian oil to central Europe -- via a connector passing through the Zitny ostrov (Rye Island) protected area.

But the 1,900-square-kilometre island on the Danube river contains some 10 billion cubic metres of high-quality drinking water reserves. "An oil pipeline leading through Zitny ostrov would endanger a unique and irreplaceable drinking-water resource for Bratislava and surrounding regions," Zenon Mikle, spokesman for a company supplying water to the Slovak capital, told AFP.

Transpetrol and Austrian downstream oil giant OMV expect to start building the 62-kilometre (39-mile) pipeline connecting Druzhba and the Trans-Alpine pipeline in 2012. Slovakia, which depends on Russia for 98 percent of its oil supplies, accounting for about 5.5 million tonnes per year, is betting on the pipeline as an alternative source in case Russia decides to halt supplies through Druzhba.

The country has been trying to diversify its energy sources after it was left without oil supplies for three days in January 2007 when Russia interrupted deliveries following an energy dispute between Moscow and Belarussian authorities in Minsk….

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