Nabucco CEO says project could not be implemented without Turkey

Reinhard Mitschek, the CEO of the Nabucco natural gas pipeline project, told a press conference in the Turkish capital of Ankara that the project could not be put into practice if Turkey withdrew.

The Nabucco project represents a new gas pipeline connecting the Caspian region, Middle East and Egypt via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary with Austria and further on with the Central and Western European gas markets, reported World bulletin.

"Nabucco does not have any plan B, it only has plan A and Turkey is very important in this sense," Mitschek said.

Mitschek said that there were two options for the starting point of the project, including the east of Turkey and near Ahiboz village of Ankara by leasing the transportation capacity of Turkish Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS).

The Nabucco administration was open to both alternatives, he said.

Mitschek said that the Nabucco administration saw Blue Stream natural gas pipeline as one of pipelines contributing to their project, and told reporters that the Blue Stream could also be included in their system.

The CEO said that the European Commission was ready to extend any type of support to speed up the project, and allocated 250 million Euros of grant.

Mitschek said that the commission also supported initiatives to shape up the intergovernmental agreement, which he hoped to be concluded in April or May.

The CEO said that the first natural gas was expected to be pumped through the pipeline in 2014, and told reporters that the project might be launched with 8-10 billion cubic meters of natural gas pumping at first.

Mitschek said that their target might be pumping 30 billion cubic meters of gas by 2019.

The CEO said that the Nabucco would no way sell natural gas, but undertake the mission of operation of transportation and shipment system and supply, market and

operate gas.

Mitschek said that sellers in Europe and Turkey could buy natural gas from whoever they want, and countries would set themselves the quality and price of the natural gas.

The aim of the project was to maximise natural gas flow to European markets via Turkey, Mitschek said.

Mitschek said that both Turkey and Europe would need more natural gas in the following 20 years, and therefore the system should be taken under guarantee.

The CEO said that the natural gas pipeline construction was scheduled to begin in 2011.

The final finance and investment decisions regarding the project would have been taken by the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010, Mitschek also said.

The Nabucco pipeline length is approximately 3,300 km, starting at the Georgian/Turkish and/or Iranian/Turkish border respectively, leading to Baumgarten in Austria. 1,998 km of the pipeline goes through Turkey.

According to market studies, the pipeline has been designed to transport a maximum amount of 31 bcm/y.

Estimated investment costs including financing costs for a complete new pipeline system amount to approximately 7.9 billion Euro.

Aside from BOTAS, Germany's RWE, Austria's OMV, Hungary's MOL, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz, and Romanian Transgaz have shares in the Nabucco Project.

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