Nabucco gas pipeline project: risks increasing

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 8 / Trend , E.Badalova/

The Caspian Oil & Gas-2009 conference, which was held in Baku last week, paid specific attention of the role of the Caspian region to providing energy security and transportation of resources to world markets emerging a range of issues for thinking. Despite of hopes that the European Union connects with diversification of resources of its supplies, in particular with the South gas corridor, it may face serious challenges related to its implementation.   

The lack of resources to fill the Nabucco gas pipeline, which is the composite of the South corridor project, is of great importance. Despite all assurance and confidence of participants of the project of its success and promotion, no agreement between suppliers and buyers has been signed. The project will allegedly be succeeded without any agreement, Sveinung Dankel, Norwegian StatoilHydro Azerbaijan's lead negotiator for gas transportation, said.

At the initial stage Nabucco needs eight billion cubic meters, which it expects to obtain from the second stage of development of Azerbaijani gas field Shah-Deniz. The possibility is quite real, but Europe did not take into account the fact that the wish to get a lot of gas, which, besides Russia, have recently joined Iran. Vice President of Investment and Marketing Department of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) Elshad Nasirov said Iran offered to buy natural gas, produced at the second stage of the Shah Deniz field, at affordable prices.

Thus, Azerbaijan has a great choice for the sale of its gas. "We do not care to whom sell gas, we equally enjoy the projects proposed by Russia and the EU. The most important is to supply reliable and stable," Industry and Energy Minister of Azerbaijan Natig Aliyev said. However, at the same time, he also said that he was skeptical about the Nabucco project, believing that the project involves numerous complexities of economic and political nature.

Nabucco is expected to transport gas from the Caspian region to the EU. Maximum capacity of the pipeline will be 31 billion cubic meters a year. Initially, the project was designed to supply gas from the fields of Iran in the Persian Gulf. In 2006, in connection with the conflict surrounding the Iranian nuclear program, it was decided to amend the draft so as to be able to supply raw materials from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.

Nabucco is facing a risk of having no" potential and so needed gas. The very same project could never justify its mission to diversify its sources of supply. And the likelihood of changes in the draft guidance for the third time is very questionable, and of the two options - to use Russian gas, or abandon the project - Europe is likely to choose the second.

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