Azeri accord gives hopes to Nabucco

Azeri accord gives hopes to Nabucco

Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas group has agreed a deal that could see it take a stake in the Nabucco pipeline to transport the country’s gas to Europe via Turkey, boosting the project’s chances against a rival plan.

The Shah Deniz 2 consortium, which has already signed a funding deal with the competing Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) project, has said taking a stake in Nabucco would be critical for the project to go ahead.

The companies behind the Nabucco pipeline said on Jan. 10 that the deal, announced in Sofia and to be finalized in Vienna, would give Shah Deniz 2 a 50 percent stake if it chooses their project as its European export route, in return for joint funding and development of the pipeline.

“With real upstream people as partners, we move in the direction of developing more than just something on a paper, but into direction of a real pipeline,” said Gerhard Roiss, chief executive of Austria’s OMV, a shareholder in Nabucco.

Rival TAP plans to pipe Azeri gas to Italy while Nabucco would transport Caspian supplies to Europe via Austria.

The European Union supports the delivery of Azeri gas to the region, expected to start in 2018 to reduce its dependency on Russian gas imports.

The Shah Deniz 2 group, which is developing the biggest gas field in the Caspian Sea region, has narrowed its options over which route to take for its gas to Europe down to either a scaled down Nabucco project, known as Nabucco West, or to TAP.

The Nabucco West aims to ship 16 billion cubic meters of gas a year from the Turkish border to Austria, leaving the transit through Turkey to the ongoign joint Azeri-Turkish Trans Anatolia Pipeline (TANAP) project of around $7 billion.