Wednesday, August 25, 2010

US and Corporate Pressure Push 2nd Phase of NABUCCO Feeder Lines Ahead of First Phase

25 08 2010
Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Aug. — Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GMBH confirmed that feeder lines into the natural gas pipeline would run to the Turkish-Georgian and Turkish-Iraqi borders and ordered engineering works for these two lines. Nabucco, however, cited political concerns in tabling a third potential feeder line to the Turkish-Iranian border. The announcements came following the pipeline’s latest steering committee meeting in Ankara.

The two-feeder routing plan offers Nabucco access to supplies from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iraq.

In April European Union Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger touted the importance of Turkmenistan as a gas supplier to Europe through a southern Caspian corridor. Other southern corridor projects cited by Oettinger as part of the EU’s efforts to diversify supply sources away from Russia include the White Stream pipeline from Georgia and the Interconnector among Turkey, Greece, and Italy (ITGI). Parties to the ITGI signed a memorandum of understanding on the project in June, with the 804-km line expected to enter service in 2015 (OGJ Online, June 21, 2010).

The 56-in. OD Nabucco pipeline will bring gas to the Baumgarten hub in Austria near the Slovakian border at a rate of 31 billion cu m/year, before moving it on to Western Europe. Feasibility studies have led to a two-stage construction plan. The first phase, starting in 2011, calls for 2,000 km of pipe between Ankara, Turkey, and Baumgarten, allowing 8 billion cu m/year of gas from the existing Turkish pipeline network to be transported through the line by 2014 (OGJ, Feb. 15, 2010, p. 48). Second-stage construction would begin in 2012 and build eastward from Ankara to the Iraqi and Georgian borders, bringing total pipeline length to 3,300 km.

Nabucco has six equal shareholders: Turkey’s Botas, Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD, Romania’s Transgaz, Hungary’s MOL, Austria’s OMV, and Germany’s RWE.

Nabucco estimates total pipeline cost at €7.9 billion.

Tehran Times Economic Desk

TEHRAN — Iran’s 7th cross-country gas pipeline was officially inaugurated on Monday.

The project, which cost $1.7 billion, is regarded as the first phase of the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, which is also known as the Peace Pipeline.

The pipeline, which extends 902 kilometers from Assalouyeh in the southwest of Iran to Iranshahr in the southeast, will transfer natural gas from the South Pars gas field to some of Iran’s southern provinces.

First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi and Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi attended the inauguration ceremony.

The second section of the pipeline, which is to be about 400 kilometers in length, will be established by Iran’s Khatam-ol-Anbia Construction Headquarters at a cost of 200 to 250 million dollars.

Iran, Pakistan, and India conceptualized the Peace Pipeline project in the 1990s to promote peace and increase security in the region.

The IPI gas pipeline is a proposed 2,775-kilometer pipeline for delivering natural gas from Iran to Pakistan and India, though the signature of a final deal agreement has been delayed several times over price and political issues.

Due to tense India-Pakistan relations, New Delhi stepped back from the later stages of negotiations, although it has never formally withdrawn from the project.

Iran’s proven natural gas reserves stand at about 1,000 trillion cubic feet, of which 33 percent is located in associated gas fields and 67 percent in non-associated gas fields.

Iran has the world’s second largest reserves of natural gas after Russia.

* Iranian gas imports halted, repairs underway

* Second blast on key link since July 21

ISTANBUL, Aug 25 – Iranian natural gas flows to Turkey were halted after an explosion and could take up to a week to resume after repairs are completed, officials at the Turkish pipeline operator Botas said on Wednesday.

It was the second time in a little over a month that an explosion halted gas imports from Iran on the key link.

“The fire has been extinguished, and repair work is ongoing,” one official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Another Botas official said the blast, the cause of which was not immediately clear, occurred late on Tuesday. Repairs could take six to seven days to be completed, he said.

When an explosion on July 21 halted gas flows, it took 10 days to fix the pipeline. The cause of that blast was also not known.

Officials did not say on which side of the border the blast occurred.

Guerrillas from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have in the past claimed responsibility for attacks on oil pipelines from Iraq and Azerbaijan.

Neighbouring Iran is Turkey’s second-biggest supplier of natural gas after Russia, sending 10 billion cubic metres of gas each year. Turkey uses gas to fire half of its power plants. (Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley and Orhan Coskun; Editing by William Hardy)

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