Nabucco West will help EU to keep “strategic project” idea alive

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 30 / Trend A.Badalova /

Nabucco West project will help the EU to keep alive a concept of "strategic project" if chosen by the Shah Deniz consortium as a preferred route to transport Azerbaijani gas to Southeastern and Central Europe, political risk analyst at Menas Associates in London, focusing on Caspian energy and political issues, Alexander Jackson believes.

He believes that keeping the name of the original project in Nabucco West partly gives it the strength over SEEP (South-East Europe Pipeline, proposed by BP), which is a concurrent of Nabucco West in a race to export Azerbaijani gas to the Southeastern Europe.

"The Nabucco 'brand' endures even though the original project is essentially dead," Jackson wrote Trend in an e-mail.

The Consortium of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field development currently considers options to export gas to the Southeastern and Central Europe, which include Nabucco West and SEEP. The pipeline route to this direction will be selected by late June, 2012.

Nabucco West is a short-cut version of Nabucco project, which envisages a construction of the pipeline from Turkish-Bulgarian border to Austria. According to the original conception of Nabucco project, 3,900-km pipeline will be laid from the Georgian-Turkish and Iraqi-Turkish borders to the Austrian Baumgarten.

Earlier Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH spokesman, Christian Dolezal told Trend that the shareholders of Nabucco consortium are exploring to realize the pipeline from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to Austria as the first phase of the Nabucco project. According to Dolezal, the negotiations between the project's shareholders and the Consortium of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas field development are underway, and no final decision has been made.

SEEP envisages gas transportation through existing or expanded infrastructure of Turkey to the Balkan Peninsula, and then distribution of 10 billion cubic meters to small buyers, including Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and others via the existing gas pipelines system.

Upon comparing, Nabucco West is inferior to SEEP, in terms of cost, Jackson believes.

Nabucco West would cost around 60 percent less than the original Nabucco plan, according to some estimates, which would mean around $5 billion. This is still probably more expensive than SEEP, which involves stitching together existing pipelines with new interconnectors and short stretches of pipe," he said.

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