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Azerbaijani Oil Chief Says Country Can Supply Pipeline

A top official of Azerbaijan's state oil monopoly says the country has sufficient natural gas reserves to supply a proposed pipeline to Europe.

Khoshbakht Yusifzade, of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, made his comments Thursday.

The proposed Nabucco pipeline would run from the Caspian Sea, across Turkey to the Balkans and the rest of Europe and would help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies.

The Associated Press quotes gas industry experts raising doubts about Azerbaijan's ability to provide the required supplies.

The European Commission has been trying to invest more than $330 million in the pipeline, which would bypass Russia.

In January, Russia cut natural gas to Europe through a pipeline that runs across Ukraine because of a pricing dispute with Kyiv.

The move left millions of Europeans with inadequate heat during sub-freezing temperatures.

Gas has since been restored. However, the incident has raised new questions in Europe about Russia's reliability as an energy supplier.

Some information for this report was provided by AP