Nabucco’s conception change becomes main reason for RWE exit

Oil&Gas Materials 10 December 2012 18:25 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 10 / Trend A.Badalova/

The main reasons for Germany's RWE withdrawal from Nabucco project are most likely a reevaluation of the project and a strategy revision, Editor-in-Chief at Eurasia Energy Observer, Andrej Tibold believes.

"The whole concept of the initial Nabucco pipeline has been changed and downgraded in size and length to the so called Nabucco-West variant," Tibold told Trend via e-mail.

Its effect, Tibold believes, will remain limited mostly to the South Eastern European market and not significantly affect the Northern and Central Europe, where RWE's main market is.

Last week Austrian OMV CEO Gerhard Roiss confirmed the information about being in talks with RWE over stake in Nabucco project. Earlier it was reported that German utility RWE may quit Nabucco West and sell its stake in the project to OMV. A possible deal to transfer German utility's stake could happen before the end of the year.

However, according to Roiss, RWE exit won't affect viability of pipeline project, Bloomberg reported. "It is not an issue of control, it's an issue of investment. The shareholders of Nabucco at the end will be the ones who have the gas," Roiss said.

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.

With regard to the chances of Nabucco West to be selected as a final route to transport Caspian gas to Europe, Tibold believes that the economics of the project will play a key role in it.

From a perspective of supply diversification, Nabucco-West is obviously most welcome, but the Shah Deniz shareholders will look at the transport tariffs and the prices offered by customers, Tibold 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 consortium of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas foeld development plans to make its selection betwee Nabucco West and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in 2013.