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FORBES: Italy may invest billions in Montenegro energy

Published date: 17.06.2009 18:09 | Author: Kliping inostranih medija

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Italian investors are ready to invest up to 5 billion euros ($6.95 billion) in energy projects in Montenegro, the Italian minister for economic development, Claudio Scajola, said on Tuesday.
After meeting Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic in the capital Podgorica, Scajola said 'investors are also interested in installing an undersea electric power cable between Italy and Montenegro.'
Italy and Montenegro are both located along the Adriatic Sea and an underwater power cable would alleviate shortages of electricity in both countries.
'Investors are also willing to build hydropower plants and to invest in Montenegro's (state-operated) Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) and its power grid,' Scajola said.
He stopped short from specifying the time span for the investments, but Djukanovic earlier this year said that joint Italian-Montenegrin projects could last years.
Djukanovic said 'the cooperation between the two countries, the two governments and companies remains dynamic and good.'
Earlier on Tuesday, representatives of Montenegrin, Serb and Italian governments agreed to do a feasibility study for a 1.5 billion euros-worth overhaul of a key railway line connecting Montenegrin port of Bar with Serbian capital Belgrade.
Montenegro, a Balkan nation of only 650,000 people, led by Djukanovic's pro-Western coalition is seeking investments to boost its economy and buffer the impact of the global downturn.
On Monday, Montenegrin media reported that Italian oil company ENI is also interested in prospecting for oil and gas along the Balkan country's coast, just outside neighboring Croatia. ENI already operates a natural gas offshore drill near Croatian port of Pula.
(Reporting by Petar Komnenic; Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by James Jukwey) ($1=.7197 Euro) Keywords: MONTENEGRO ITALY/