The EU-backed Nabucco natural gas pipeline project might not live to see the end of summer, or it may yet run all the way to the Caspian Sea, depending on which, if any, report you believe.
According to a Russian media report citing unnamed London business circles, the project may be dropped for good by late June. It claims the EU has had to reconsider its position of support for the project and agreed to terminate it.
However, western media report that Azeri state energy company Socar - a partner with BP in the Shah Deniz project, which is pivotal for the southern gas corridor - believes the original grand Nabucco scheme could still be viable.
Russia's ITAR-TASS reports that drastic changes on the global gas market have damned the project. Nabucco's original goal was to lessen Europe's dependence on Russian energy and to achieve a gas transport capacity of 31bn cubic metres a year. On May 16, the Nabucco Consortium presented a revised, smaller version of the gas pipeline project called Nabucco West - which would run from Austria to the Turkish border to connect with the proposed Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (Tanap) - to the consortium developing Shah Deniz.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that in an interview printed by Austrian daily Die Presse on May 29, Socar's deputy head, Elshad Nassirov, refutes a recent comment from BP that the full-length version of Nabucco is no longer under consideration for shipping gas from the project because it is not viable. "We informed BP that we do not agree with this comment. BP apologised and described the comment as a private opinion," Nassirov said. "For us, Nabucco is still an option because the proposed alternative Trans-Anatolian pipeline through Turkey is so far just a concept."
Nassirov told Die Presse that he hopes a deal on Tanap could be struck by the end of June, adding that the project - in which Nabucco consortium partners OMV or RWE could take part - would be smaller and cheaper than Nabucco and could then be expanded later if needed.
Should that happen, he added, Nabucco West has a 50-50 chance of being selected as the route into Europe for Shah Deniz.
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