28 June, 2013 10:00 ▪
Death of the "Nabucco" pipeline scheme destroys EU’s plan to lower dependence on Russian gas
Austrian firm OMV, part of the Nabucco consortium, said on Wednesday (26 June) that Azerbaijan, the gas supplier, has opted for the rival "Tap" pipeline instead, reports EUobserver
"[Azerbaijan's] Shah Deniz II consortium informed OMV, as a shareholder of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International, about the decision on their preferred gas transportation route to Europe. The Nabucco West project was not selected by the consortium," it noted on its website.
READ ALSO: Brussels Against Gazprom
“The European Commission said in the past it does not matter whether Nabucco West or Tap is built because both of them square with its "southern corridor" idea - plans to pump gas directly from the Caspian Sea to Europe, bypassing Russia. But there is a big difference.” notes EUobserver
Tap is to run from the Turkish border via Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, to Italy. Nabucco West was to have run from Turkey via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, to Austria. Greece depends on Russian gas for 58 percent of consumption, while Italy's dependence is just 22 percent. Neither country was badly hit in the 2009 Russia-Ukraine gas crisis.
READ ALSO: Aspirations to Control the Gas Market
But in Bulgaria, which depends on Russia 100 percent, street lights went out in Sofia and electricity supplies to hospitals were put at risk. Dependency is also high in Hungary (56%) and Austria (52%).
Both Tap and Nabucco West are less ambitious than the EU's original scheme, "Nabucco Classic," which was to have pumped 31 bcm a year from Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan to Austria, but which fell by the wayside amid EU sanctions on Iran.
“There are signs the authoritarian leader is using gas to force political concessions. Aliyev is expected to delay signature of Tap contracts until September or October - the same time as presidential elections,” writes EUobserver
- Dmytro Tymchuk: Terrorists shelling Ukrainian military from Russian border again
- Bloomberg: US ready to impose tougher sanctions on Russia unilaterally
- National Defence and Security Council: A grouping of Russian military detected near Russia-Ukraine border in Luhansk Oblast
- Ukraine disappointed with EU sanctions against Russia
- Expert: more diversions against Ukrainian gas transit system could take place in the next few weeks
- Taras Kuzio: Shale gas revolution may open Ukraine’s integration into Europe
- Ukraine will increase the capacity of its underground gas storage facilities to 50bn cu m
- Eastern-European Fuel and Energy Company (SYePEK) to import Russian gas to Ukraine: another play of Yanukovych's Family
- Moody's: Ukraine's banking system outlook remains negative
- 60% of Ukrainians prefer gas transit system to remain state-owned