EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger says the Nabucco pipeline will be delayed by 4 years; the Nabucco Consortium has not confirmed this information. Photo by EPA/BGNES
The EU-sponsored gas transit pipeline Nabucco will come into operation in 2018 at the earliest, EU Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger.
In an interview for the German paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Oettinger says that he is optimistic about the Nabucco project despite the four-year delay (Nabucco was supposed to be completed in 2014). What is more, he calls the gas pipeline “a prestigious EU project.”
The EU Energy Commissioner says he hopes that Nabucco will receive a final construction permit by the end of 2010. He reminds that the EU will invest EUR 200 M in the pipeline, and also announces that a conference with the participation of all Nabucco partners will be held in July 2010 in Brussels or in Instanbul.
The currently existing plans of the Nabucco Consortium state that the pipeline which is to bring Central Asian and Middle Eastern natural gas to Europe via Turkey and Bulgaria should be in operation by 2014. This information has been confirmed on Wednesday by a spokesperson of RWE, the German participant in the project, as cited by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
The other partners in the project include the Turkish company Botas, the Bulgarian Energy Holding, the Romanian Transgas, the Hungarian MOL, and the Austrian OMV. Each of them holds a stake of 16,7%. The construction of the pipe is expected to cost EUR 7,9 B.
In his interview for the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger says that the North Stream gas pipeline between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea should be ready in two years.
He also stated the other Russian-sponsored pipeline, South Steam, which goes through the Black Sea and Bulgaria in order to reach the rest of Europe, should also be completed because it will provide an alternative route for Russian gas exports to the EU. In his words, the major gas pipeline running from Russia to Europe will have to be repaired over the next three years because of the risk of technical problems which might lead to a crisis of Russian gas supplies whose dimensions might be similar to the January 2009 dispute between Russia and the Ukraine.
South Stream is widely regarded as a competitor to Nabucco that tightens Russia’s energy grip on the EU.