RWE's possible departure from Nabucco West to have little impact on Shah Deniz consortium’s route selection

Oil&Gas Materials 4 December 2012 17:43 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 4 / Trend A.Badalova/

The possible withdrawal of Germany's RWE from Nabucco West project will not significantly influence on the final decision of Shah Deniz consortium on pipeline route to transport Azerbaijani gas to Europe, energy analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) Julian Lee believes.

"I am not particularly concerned about RWE's possible departure from the Nabucco West project and I think it will have little impact on the selection of a route by the Shah Deniz consortium," Lee wrote Trend via e-mail.

Reportedly German utility RWE may quit Nabucco West and sell its stake in the project to fellow shareholder Austrian OMV. A possible deal to transfer German utility's stake could happen before the end of the year.

In May, 2012 RWE's official told Trend that the utility analyses the conditions of Nabucco gas pipeline project's new version (Nabucco West) and its ability to meet Europe's strategic goals, adding that the plans for new pipeline projects change general conditions for Nabucco project.

Lee stressed that Shah Deniz consortium members have already said that they want to take a stake in whichever pipeline is selected (Trans Adriatic Pipeline or Nabucco West) to carry gas from Turkey's western border.

"This would mean that existing shareholders would either need to reduce their stakes in the project, or leave it altogether. Nabucco West will not reach as far as Germany in any case and the smaller project is unlikely to carry gas from the project that RWE is pursuing in Azerbaijan," Lee said.

With regard to the chances of Nabucco West to be selected by Shah Deniz consortium as a final route, Lee said that the identity of the eventual purchaser of the Greek pipeline company DEPA may have some bearing.

"If Gazprom buys DEPA, that may make the selection of Nabucco West more likely. If SOCAR buys DEPA, then TAP may have the advantage," Lee said.

Nabucco-West envisages the construction of 1,300 km of pipeline (Bulgaria: 412 km, Romania 469 km, Hungary 384 km, Austria 47 km) from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to the Austrian Baumgarten. Shareholders include Austrian OMV, Hungarian FGSZ, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Botas of Turkey and Germany's RWE.

The Shah Deniz consortium plans to make a final decision on the European gas export route to in 2013.