Is It Worth Speeding up Nabuccoїs Realization?- TrendCapital Commentator

Is It Worth Speeding up Nabuccoїs Realization?- TrendCapital Commentator

Azerbaijan, Baku, 27 September/ Trend , S. Aliyeva/ The realization of Nabucco gas pipeline meant to reduce Europeїs dependence on Russian gas by 2013, can acquire more accurate outlines.

The statements about pipelineїs lacking prospects, obstacles for its realization, lack of source of gas supply are being replaced by the more confident ones. Particularly, Turkish President Abdullah Gul stated the realization of the project is real.

Experts say delay in the realization of Nabucco leads to the rise in its cost. Ways of out political, economic and financial problems are being searched at present. Furthermore, Russia seeks to retain its dominant position in the European market and to realize new alternative projects. Realization of North Stream, South Stream and further expansion of Blue Stream are Russiaїs attempts to step up its influence and dominance in the European market.

The sources to fill up the pipeline must be determined first of all in order to increase efficiency of realization of Nabucco worth $12bln. At present, Azerbaijan holds consultations on this issue. Gas from the Azerbaijani shelf of the Caspian can be pumped through Nabucco only at the second stage of development of Shah Deniz gas and condensate field (the project is expected to be realized beginning in 2013) as other volumes of gas will be exported to Turkey and Georgia under signed contracts. The gas output from Shah Deniz field will not be enough to meet full capacity of Nabucco, experts say.

Turkmenistan, who has huge reserves of gas, can act as another supplier. An underwater pipeline must be laid through the bottom of the Caspian Sea in order to deliver gas to Azerbaijan and onwards Europe through Georgia and Turkey. It was Iran, one of the key sources of gas, who initiated this project. However, current political situation regarding Iranїs nuclear program, led to considerable changes in this process.

The last statement by Iran will lead to more attention towards the gas pipeline and speed up realization of Nabucco. Golamhussein Nozari, minister of oil of Iran said recently Iran will not wait for the realization of the project for їwhole lifeї. If agreement on Nabucco is not signed with Iran soon, Tehran will have to turn to other gas exporting companies. On his part, head of Hungarian MOL oil and gas company (part of consortium for realization of Nabucco) Solt Hernandez said Nabucco can be realized if only Iran joins it.

Iran has alternative routes to export its gas. The larges alternative can be gas delivery to Pakistan and India. Head of states of these countries recently reached agreement to found a company to realize project of laying pipeline from South Pars field to Multan province of Pakistan. The company is expected to attract $7.5bln. The length of the company will make up 2,700km.

The construction of gas pipeline from Iran to India has been discussed since the end of 1980s. At that time there were two options for the route of the pipeline: through the bottom of the sea and through land via Pakistan. However, the first one turned out to be disadvantageous from the economic point of view because of high cost and the second one ї for political reasons. Recently, political problems concede to economic expediency of realization of joint projects which makes realization of gas supply from Iran to India possible. Delhi has already stated its interest in this project to prolong pipeline till its territory.

Today Asian market is one of the active and rapid growing markets all over the world. Figures introduced by BP World Energy-2008 report placed rise in gas consumption at 7.6% in 2007 versus 2006.

SO, gas consumption in India and Pakistan from 1997 to 2007 was as follows (bln cu m) (BP figures):

Country 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
22.3 24.5 25.1 26.4 26.4 27.6 29.5 31.9 35.7 37.3 40.2
19.8 20.1 22.2 22.8 23.4 22.9 25.2 27.4 30.2 30.5 30.8

According to BP, Iranїs gas reserves makes up 27.8trln cu m (second to Russia). In 2007, Iran extracted 111.9bln cu m of gas which is 3% more than the figure of 2006.

So, one can expect acceleration of realization of Nabucco project soon. Europe, probably, will have to choose between political and economic priorities, that is, to provide its energy security or to continue hard political confrontation with Iran.

The Nabucco project consists of a 3,300 kilometre pipeline, with a planned maximum capacity of 31 billion cubic meters per year. It will help ensure the provision of gas to Europe from producers in the Middle East and Caspian region bypassing Russia. The pipeline will cross Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and will end in Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria. Works are expected to begin in 2009 and should be completed in 2013.

The participants of Nabucco include the Austrian OMV, Turkish Botas, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE.

The initial Nabucco gas pipeline project initiated in 2004, called for gas deliveries from Iranїs fields in Persian Gulf. In 2006, the project changed to deliver gas from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan because of Iranїs nuclear program.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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