Nabucco pipe project again delayed

The construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline, which is meant for the transportation of gas from the Caspian Region to Europe, is again delayed. At least, for one year. The beginning of works is postponed till the year 2012, and the commissioning of the mainline, 3,300 kilometres long, is set for the end of 2014 or for the beginning of 2015, the Managing Director of the Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH Managing Reinhardt Mitschek said.

The main problem the Nabucco gas pipeline is facing is to fill the tube. Despite all efforts, made by the company’s management, an attempt to reach agreement on guaranteed gas supplies was a failure, because of the lack of gas, the President of the Russian Union of Oil and Gas Industrialists Gennady Shmal says:

There was an opinion earlier that the main country, which could supply gas for Nabucco, was Azerbaijan. Today Azerbaijan extracts approximately 22.5 billion cubic metres of gas. And only about 16 billion out of these 22.5 billion cubic metres could be regarded as goods. The Azeris must also supply their gas to Turkey and to Georgia. Domestic consumption is also a reality, which can’t be ignored. Besides, Azerbaijan has promised to supply several billion cubic metres of gas to Russia. Therefore, Azerbaijan has no resources for the Nabucco pipeline.

Turkmenistan, which has sufficient gas reserves, is the second option. In the Soviet-era times Turkmenistan extracted more than 80 billion cubic metres of gas. In recent times it has been extracting a little bit less. Bu it has built a gas pipeline to China and also another one – to Iran. Besides, Turkmenistan plans to build the second stage to both Iran and China. Thus, altogether 10 billion cubic metres of gas will be transported there. Plus 10 billion, which we purchase from Turkmenistan. And that’s all. Of course, there’re a number of deposits there but efforts are required to start developing them. And this is rather problematic and takes time.”

There’s also Iranian gas, but the development process is only beginning. Tehran plans to launch gas supplies to Pakistan and India. Besides, you should not forget that Iran has tense relations with the USA, which is promoting the Nabucco gas pipeline. And it is rather doubtful that Americans are ready to cooperate with Iran in the gas field, which could provide more sources of financing to Tehran.

Since there’s no clarity with the issue of gas supplies, the implementation of the Nabucco project seems to be rather dubious for the investors. For example, on Monday the World Bank (WB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed a memorandum on their possible participation in the financing of the Nabucco gas pipeline to the tune of 4 billion euros, which makes up 50 per cent of the pipeline’s cost. But these finances will be allocated only on condition that the management of the operator-company receives the other 50 per cent from private business. But judging by the facts, private businessmen are least of all ready to put their capital at risk. The more so, under the conditions of the continued economic crisis.

In the light of the above-mentioned, the future of the Nabucco gas pipeline seems to be very uncertain. This is exactly what was clear from the very beginning, because this project was caused by political rather than economic considerations, which are aimed at weakening Russia’s positions on the European market.

Original Source: Voice of Russia

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