Decision on Nabucco West pipeline expected in early 2013
(VIENNA) - A decision on the future of Nabucco West, the shortened version of Europe's gas pipeline project, can be expected in the first quarter of 2013, Austria's economy minister said Monday, insisting the project was gaining momentum.
The Shah Deniz consortium, overseeing theCaspian Sea gas field of the same name, is due to decide between two pipelines to transport its gas to Europe: Nabucco West which will travel to Austria, and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to Italy via Greece.
So far, the consortium only said it "aims to make a final decision between these options and to conclude related gas sales agreements ahead of the project final investment decision planned for mid-2013," according to the website of BP, one of the consortium's participants.
"The Nabucco West pipeline project is gaining momentum," Austrian Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner concluded after talks with the project's partners in Vienna Monday.
Representatives from the countries bordering Nabucco West were to issue a ministerial declaration later in the day agreeing to the project, he added.
"In it, all states commit themselves to the Nabucco West gas pipeline project and guarantee the necessary legal framework for its construction," Mitterlehner said.
The initial 4,000-kilometre (2,500-mile) Nabucco pipeline, running from the Caspian Sea to Europe, struggled to getgas supply commitments, prompting talk of shortening the 7.9-billion-euro ($10 billion) project to only a 1,300-kilometre "Nabucco West" between the Turkish-Bulgarian border and Austria.
Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Natig Aliyev as well as EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger were also present at Monday's talks in Vienna.
Nabucco is backed by a consortium including Austria's OMV, German RWE, Hungary's MOL, Romania's Transgaz, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz and Turkey's Botas.
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