Azerbaijan, Baku, 21 August / Trend / Nabucco Gas Pipeline International was established to manage the Nabucco gas pipeline, says a market survey has indicated "huge demand" for the pipeline it plans to start operating in 2013 across Turkey and via the Balkans to Austria, and Managing Director Reinhard Mitschek insists he is undaunted by recent events in Georgia.
In an interview with Nefte Compass, Mitschek said his job is not to concentrate on the day-to-day political and military implications of the conflict, but rather to focus on the 11.6 billion project's long-term economic viability. Nabucco's six backers "want to start building the pipeline in 2010," as scheduled. The conflict has had "no impact on [Nabucco's] timing or cost structure." Mitschek said.
The informal market survey, concluded last month before the conflict situation in Georgia, indicated that potential shippers wanted more than 100% of Nabucco's planned capacity, due to start at 8 Bcm/yr in 2013 and expand to 31 Bcm/yr by 2018-2019.
Mitschek said nonbinding expressions of interest stacked up as high as 65 Bcm/yr, but that the consortium is "not thinking yet" about building Nabucco larger than 31 Bcm/yr.
The survey indicated strong demand to bring gas to Europe from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iraq -- presumably through Georgia -- and from Iran, with relatively small volumes from Egypt and Syria.
"More than 50 companies were contacted in the market survey, and about 20 reacted positively," he said, noting that Nabucco's six backers -- Austria's OMV, Hungary's, MOL, Bulgargaz, Transgaz, Botas and RWE were amongst the aforesaid 20 companies.
In 2007, the gas demand comprised 500bln cu m amongst EU 27 countries, as well as 300bln cu m gas was imported and 200bln was produced in Europe. The total gas demand in Europe within the next ten or fifteen years will reach 700bln cu m per year, but gas production to drop to 100bln cu m.