Viktor Yushchenko to offer Ukraine as branch of Nabucco for supply of Turkmen gas

Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, September 14 / Trend G.Hasanov /

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko today starts his official visit to Turkmenistan, which is planned to last by 17 September. Judging by the announcements, it is possible to assume that he is ready to discuss with the President of Turkmenistan Gurbangulu Berdimuhamedov not only the possibility of re-establishing direct deliveries via the traditional route through Russia.

Yushchenko can also offer Ukraine as a transit for re-export of Caspian resources within the European Nabucco pipeline project. Ashgabat, as it turns out, is ready to support this conversation. At least, Berdimuhamedov at the weekend reiterated that there are "enough pockets with large reserves of natural gas, even for joining such a large-scale project as Nabucco. Several days earlier, speaking of the cooperation with Ukraine, he stressed the "special character" of relations between the two countries.

Kiev made in advance the signals about its ambitions to participate in the Nabucco project. Almost immediately after this summer in Ankara (Turkey) was signed an intergovernmental agreement of interested countries - Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Hungary to implement the Nabucco project, the presidential press service of Ukraine called this fact "historic event".

"Under the growth of the gas consumption, Nabucco will improve access of European countries, including Ukraine, to the gas resources of the Caspian region. Therefore, Ukraine declares its interest to participate in the Nabucco project at all its stages - from design to operation," mentioned in the article by Andrey Goncharuk, representing the secretariat of the head of Ukraine.

In his view, the implementation of this project, and in particular, the participation of Ukraine will contribute to economic and political development of Caspian-Black Sea region and strengthening their cooperation with the EU.

Of course, as stated in the material, the Nabucco project significantly modifies the regional energy transportation infrastructure.

Construction of a new "gas artery" makes the process of gas supplies to Europe more transparent and create a competitive environment in the European gas market and remove policy component artificially injected into the process of gas trade, but will also contribute to the development of fundamentally new approaches in relations between suppliers, transit countries and consumers. It is the position of Yushchenko's team.

The Nabucco project worth 7.9 billion euro will deliver Azerbaijani and Central Asian gas to the EU. Nabucco shareholders are the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE with 16.67 percent each. Construction of the pipeline is expected to begin in 2011 and the first supplies - in 2014. Its maximum capacity will be 31 billion cubic meters per year. At the initial stage, the pipeline will pump approximately eight to ten billion cubic meters. An investment solution on the project will be made in the first quarter of 2010. The Nabucco Gas Pipeline International will invest 30 percent of the project on basis of its share. The remaining 70 percent will be provided by international institutions.

The main sources of supply for the pipeline are considered Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iraq. Turkey supports Iran's participation in the project. The United States, however, in turn, as the project participants, wishes to see Russia.

At the same time, Kiev considers that the agreement on Nabucco confirms the consistency and seriousness of the EU to promote co-operation in these regions on the basis of international norms and standards.

"That is why, Ukraine, as a state initiating the creation of Caspian-Black Sea-Baltic energy space, based on the principle of diversification of routes and sources of supply and support to the free transit of energy resources, highly assesses the signing of the Inter-governmental Agreement on the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline.

According to independent observers, "any alternative to Nabucco is the plus, especially considering the serious ambitions of future major transit countries - Turkey, which already considers itself as a regional manager for the distribution of flows to European markets from the Caspian region.

"Ashgabat welcomes any option to diversify its energy transportation," a Turkmen economist said by telephone. He also remembered that Turkmenistan's position is clear - to sell exclusively on its borders, and agreements with transit countries should be decided by the buyers.

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