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UPDATE 1-Azeri gas group in talks for stake in Nabucco pipeline

* Shah Deniz II in "very concrete" talks for Nabucco stake

* Austria, OMV say no talk of MOL exit from Nabucco

* Decision on Nabucco vs TAP seen in Q1 2013

(Adds details on MOL and timing)

VIENNA, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The partners in Azerbaijan's ShahDeniz II gas field are in talks to take a stake in the Nabuccoconsortium that is competing to build the first pipeline todeliver Azeri gas to Europe, Austria's economy and energyminister said on Monday.

"There are very concrete talks," Reinhold Mitterlehner tolda news conference during talks on the Nabucco West projectbetween the energy ministers of the countries through which thepipeline is planned to run and the Nabucco consortium partners.

The Shah Deniz II consortium has already signed a fundingdeal with Nabucco's rival, the more southerly Trans-Adriaticpipeline (TAP), and a Shah Deniz II stake in Nabucco is seen asvital for the northern route's chances.

The delivery of Azeri gas to Europe, expected to start in2018 whichever pipeline is chosen, will loosen Russia's grip onEuropean Union energy supplies.

Relations between the EU and Russia have been strained by ananti-trust case brought by the European Commission againstRussia's Gazprom , which centres on complaints that theworld's biggest gas company is hindering the flow of gas andmistreating its customers by linking the price of gas to oil.

Nabucco's six shareholders are Austrian energy group OMV, Germany's RWE , Hungary's MOLthrough its gas pipeline operator FGSZ, Turkey's Botas, BEH ofBulgaria and Romania's Transgaz .

TAP's shareholders are EGL of Switzerland (42.5percent), Norway's Statoil , (42.5 percent) and E.ONRuhrgas of Germany (15 percent).

MOL has said it is ready to sell its stake in Nabucco ifnecessary as it has concerns over the project's uncertain costs,gas supply sources and structure and management.

But Mitterlehner said on Monday that Hungary's politicalinterest in the project continued, and OMV Chief ExecutiveGerhard Roiss said there was no talk of MOL withdrawing. "Wehave no sign that MOL wants to exit as a shareholder," he said.

Mitterlehner said a decision on which pipeline to use wasexpected from the Shah Deniz II partners - BP , Azeristate firm SOCAR and Total - in the first quarter ofnext year.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Mark Potter)

((georgina.prodhan@thomsonreuters.com)(+431 5311 2256)(ReutersMessaging: georgina.prodhan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: NABUCCO SHAHDENIZ/