Nabucco pipeline project goes forward, EU gives green light

27. Juni 2006, 00:00

A letter of intent was signed on Monday in Vienna by energy ministers from Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and...

A letter of intent was signed on Monday in Vienna by energy ministers from Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey on the Nabucco gas pipe project. The European Commission sees Nabucco as one of four or five new pipelines needed to supply Europe over the next 20 years or so. The 3,300-km long pipeline, to be constructed with USD 4.5-5.0 billion, would lead through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary and it would connect the European Union gas market to the Caspian region. This is likely to be the first of many supply routes through Southern Europe.

The five countries have brought to life a company to carry out the project, but the existence of such join enterprise means no obligation for any party.

EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said gas was “essential" to the European economy The European Commission is actively guiding investments into transmission and is hoping to assist in overcoming the technical and commercial issues involved in bringing gas through many jurisdictions to the EU," AFX cited Piebalgs as saying.

“The EU will continue to support this project, not only politically, but also [with finance] for feasibility studies," Piebalgs was cited as saying by the Financial Times.

Some 30 per cent of construction costs will be financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have also declared readiness to pitch in.

The gas companies backing the Nabucco scheme are Hungarys MOL, Austrias OMV, Transgaz of Romania, Bulgargaz of Bulgaria and Turkeys Botas.

They have already carried out feasibility studies, but have have yet to commit to financing the project.

Last Wednesday, MOL and Russias Gazprom signed a contract on the planned extension of the Blue Stream gas pipeline through Turkey and Hungary, onto Austria and many argues that one project excludes the other.
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