Corrected: Nabucco consortium remains strongly committed to pipeline

13 October 2011 11:16  [Source: ICIS news]

Correction: In the ICIS story headlined "Nabucco consortium remains strongly committed to pipeline" dated 13 October 2011, please read in the first paragraph ...the consortium said on Thursday... instead of ...the consortium said on Friday 7 October... A corrected story follows.

GDANSK (ICIS)--Nabucco Gas Pipeline International is still strongly committed to realising its “gas bridge from Asia to Europe”, despite uncertainties about when natural gas might start flowing through the infrastructure, the consortium said on Thursday.

Answering growing speculation about the future of the €7.9bn ($10.9bn) project to carry gas from the Caspian Sea region to the EU market, via the Baumgarten hub in Austria, the consortium said it foresaw no delay in the start of construction, and planned to have the pipeline ready in 2017.

“The Nabucco project is strong, and will be seen through,” said Kyra Obolensky, a spokeswoman for the group. “The Nabucco consortium is in the process of welcoming an additional shareholder, Bayerngas, as announced on 30 September, and political support remains very strong for the project, not least with the signing of intergovernmental agreements [July 2009] and the project support agreements [June 2011].”

Reported comments this week from Gerhard Roiss – the CEO of OMV, the Austrian oil, gas and petrochemical group and Nabucco shareholder – about a possible delay to 2018 referred only to the likely date of the first flow of gas in the pipeline, Obolensky said.

“The pipeline is due to be completed by the end of 2017. You then have to allow for a few months of testing, and you’re quickly into 2018, [so any delay could be just months, not a whole year],” she added.

Analysts maintain that Nabucco remains under pressure to guarantee its costs will not increase unreasonably and strike enough firm contracts with Caspian Sea region countries to source gas despite competition from Russia, which says the project is unnecessary, given its own plentiful infrastructure for gas exports to the EU.

The project now also faces rivalry from alternative pipeline plans being drawn up by BP, as well as from the ITGI (Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy) and TAP (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) gas pipeline transport routes, analysts note.

($1 = €0.72)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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