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European Commission has preliminary mandate for Nabucco gas talks

Wednesday 20 July 2011

WARSAW (Dow Jones) – Poland has received preliminary agreement from member countries to give the European Commission a mandate to hold gas talks with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, Poland’ EU presidency spokesman said Wednesday, part of a continued effort to open up the huge Caspian gas resources to Europe.

The commission has been working hard to ensure Turkmenistan’s gas can flow westward, mainly to contribute volumes to Nabucco, a multibillion project aimed at carrying Caspian gas to the EU, which is struggling to secure enough gas to fill its planned pipeline capacity.

The Nabucco pipeline (also referred as Turkey-Austria gas pipeline) is a proposed natural gas pipeline from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten-an-der-March in Austria diversifying natural gas suppliers and delivery routes for Europe. The pipeline attempts to lessen European dependence on Russian energy. The project is backed by several European Union states and the United States and is seen as rival to the Gazprom-Eni South Stream pipeline project. At the same time, there are some doubts concerning viability of supplies. The main supplier is expected to be Iraq in cooperation with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and possibly Egypt.

Preparations for the Nabucco project started in 2002 and the intergovernmental agreement between Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria was signed on 13 July 2009. The project is developed by the consortium of six companies. If built, the pipeline is expected to be operational by 2017 and it will carry 31 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.

The project is developed by the Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH. The managing director of the company is Reinhardt Mitschek. The shareholders of the company are:

  • OMV (Austria)
  • MOL (Hungary)
  • Transgaz (Romania)
  • Bulgargaz (Bulgaria)
  • BOTAŞ (Turkey)
  • RWE (Germany)

Each of the shareholders holds 16.67% of the shares.

French company GDF Suez has applied for joining the Nabucco project.

Nabucco International is the owner of the five national Nabucco companies responsible for the operation and maintenance of the pipeline in their respective countries.

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