No Room for Delays on Nabucco Gas Pipeline Project

14. März 2007, 00:00

As motions toward first-phase implementation of the Nabucco gas pipeline project have been in the making, media echoed...

As motions toward first-phase implementation of the Nabucco gas pipeline project have been in the making, media echoed Bulgarias fears over potential last-minute glitches on the undertaking.

Media alerted that Nabuccos construction has already ran up a 12-month delay and that any subsequent lag is only bringing competitive advantages to alternative gas routes. One worth mentioning is the competing Blue Stream project, whose construction has sped up in an attempt to bring Russian gas from Turkey to Western Europe before or shortly after the launch of the Nabucco facility.

The Nabuccco venture, the joint effort of Austrias OMV, Bulgarias Bulgargaz, Hungarys MOL Rt., Romanias Transgaz SA Medias and Turkish BOTAS, will span 3,300 km and will have the capacity to pump between 13.5 billion to 16 billion cu m of natural gas a year.

Earlier this year, parties to the venture agreed to establish before summer subsidiaries in each country, which should run the project on their territory on receipt of licences from the respective energy watchdogs.

In addition, by year-end the arms will have to call tenders restricted to their respective country on future gas shipments.

Chief executive of Bulgargaz, Dimitar Gogov, said the five companies will sell between 12 and 15 billion cu m of gas in advance. As many as seven gas traders have expressed serious interest in the venture.

In related news, Gaz de France has entered into talks to join in as shareholder in the Nabucco venture. The negotiations got underway shortly after analogous negotiations with Total of France reached a dead-end earlier this year, Gogov explained.

The parties to the venture are willing to invite for similar talks German energy heavyweights, E.ON and RWE of Germany.

In an interview with Reuters news agency Tuesday, OMV officials said the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline has been lagging over ongoing search for a sixth shareholder, yet sounded confident that the pipeline would be operational by 2012.

Hungary showed signs of anxiety last week. The prime minister of the country Ferenc Gyurcsany said the Nabucco project took too long to plan and was yet to enjoy a reliable timetable for gas supplies.

Once online, the Nabucco facility should cut dependence on Russian natural gas, shipping Caspian and Iranian gas from Turkey to all countries in Western Europe.

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