Nabucco project: Time plays not in favor of EU

Oil&Gas Materials 10 April 2009 10:40 (UTC +04:00)
Nabucco project: Time plays not in favor of EU

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 9 / Trend , A.Badalova/

Great debates occurred around the Nabucco gas pipeline, for which the EU believes. The recent events both directly and indirectly related to the project and cannot benefit its implementation.

One of the main issues, which still cast doubt, is the financing of the project. Europe, which craves ease its energy dependence on Russia, will unlikely able to reach unity on this issue. Is that the fault of the global financial crisis, as stated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not to persuade the current situation, listing the financing facilities, planned to build after 2010, or the reason lies in the affection of some European countries to Russian projects.

EU is planning to invest 200 million euro to the gas pipeline project, which will deliver gas from Azerbaijan and the Central Asia to Europe.

The recent memorandum on mutual understanding between Azerbaijan, a potential gas supplier to Nabucco, and the Russian Gazprom monopolist, has caused serious debates. The memorandum envisages Azerbaijani gas to the pipeline of 2010. Russia proposed to buy Azerbaijani gas in March 2008. Foreign journalists have understood this step as a serious strike to Nabucco. "European dreams about Nabucco may fail," the Wall Street Journal writes.

However, Azerbaijan's step did not surprise the Nabucco gas pipeline International consortium. "The Memorandum, signed between Azerbaijan and Gazprom, does not put obstacles before the project," representative of the Austrian OMV company Christian Dolezal on international projects&Nabucco said. According to Dolsezal, Azerbaijan is still considered as the main gas supplier to the pipeline.

Maximum discharge capacity of the pipeline is 31bln cu m a year. The consortium is expected to receive 9 billion cubic metre of gas per year within the project of the second stage of Azerbaijani Shah Daniz field. Currently, Azerbaijan produces 56.5 million cubic metre of gas per year.

Georgia's joining to the White stream project, which is called a competitive project to Nabucco, has become a spark in debates. The White Stream, which is developed by the White Stream Pipeline, provides deliveries of Azerbaijani, Central and possibly Iranian gas through Georgia via the Black Sea to Ukraine and EU. The carrying capacity of the White stream is from eight to 22 billion cubic meters a year.

Georgian Energy Minister Alexander Khetaguri, who signed a memorandum with the White Stream Pipeline General Director on cooperation to implement the White Stream project, believes that this project will be of favor of Nabucco. The White Stream provides fast and efficient development of natural resources of the Caspian region, which will facilitate the implementation of the project Nabucco and diversifying gas supply to many countries," Khetaguri said.

Doubts stated about the Nabucco project were justified and have a ground. Despite EU still believes in the project.

Project's consortium says that there is no obstacle and all taken steps yield positive results.  

An intergovernmental agreement on the project will be signed before summer. "The negotiations on the intergovernmental agreement are fruitful and constructive", said Dolezal.

Now all attention is focused on the upcoming Nabucco summit in Prague on May 8. Georgia will also partake at the summit.

Given EU's willingness, Nabucco project has all chances to be implemented. But if Europe wants to realize its dream, it needs to hurry.

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