Unstable political situation hampers Egypt’s joining Nabucco

Oil&Gas Materials 11 October 2011 17:46 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 11 /Trend A.Badalova/

Egypt is interested in Nabucco gas pipeline project, but the unstable political situation in the country is the main factor limiting its participation in it, Majid Zaglul, the official representative of the Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources told Trend.

"Nabucco project is an important project for Egypt from the economic point of view," Zaglus said. "But the political situation in the country is the obstacle on the way of its participation in the project."

So, Egypt does not consider the gas supplies via this project now.

"Currently Egypt is reviewing its agreement with Israel, and the major part of Egypt's production volume will be directed on this route," Zaglul said.

This month Egypt is going to complete talks with Israel and Jordan on supplying Egyptian gas. New export prices will also be under consideration.

Israel imports natural gas from Egypt in accordance with the 20-year contract concluded in 2005. Egypt supplies 45 percent of Israel's current gas demand.

Nabucco gas pipeline project envisages gas supplies from the Caspian region and the Middle East to the EU countries. The project's construction is planned to start in 2013 and the first supplies are expected in 2017. The pipeline's maximum capacity will hit 31 billion cubic meters per year.

The current participants of Nabucco project are Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE companies. Each of participants has equal share to the amount of 16.67 percent.

Azerbaijan and Iraq are considered as the main suppliers at the first stage of the project. Azerbaijan plans to deliver 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Europe under Phase 2 of the Shah Deniz gas-condensate field development.

Egyptian gas can be transported via Nabucco by using the Pan-Arab connecting gas pipeline, which involves Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

An agreement to construct the Pan-Arab pipeline between Arab countries was reached in 2000. The pipeline route envisages exporting Egyptian gas through Jordan, Syria and Turkey to Western Europe. The planned pipeline length is 324 kilometers.

Earlier the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey wants Egypt to become a part of the Nabucco project.

According to BP, Egypt's proven gas reserves amounted to 2.2 trillion cubic meters in early 2011. Natural gas production in Egypt decreased by 2.2 percent to 61.3 billion cubic meters in 2010.

A. Tagiyeva contributed to the article