The death of Nabucco means a kiss of life for Greece
The European Union’s Nabucco pipeline project, which was to carry gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and even Iran to Europe, has died after having death throes for long years.
But it did not omit to give a kiss of life to Greece while dying.
Though it sounds paradoxical to hear “death and kiss of life” in the same sentence, I will try to explain the situation.
Let’s go back to where it all began.
When the EU first came up with the project about 10 years ago, the aim was to shake Russia’s Gazprom monopoly in Europe.
It had been foreseen that the Nabucco pipeline would be 3,300 kilometers starting from Turkey and would carry 31 billion cubic meters of gas per annum to Europe once the pipeline reached its full capacity towards the 2020s.
However, regardless of the countless agreements on Nabucco, neither the gas that would pass through the Nabucco pipeline nor the money needed to build it was found.
In the meantime, I myself had attended a signature ceremony about this unfortunate project two years ago in Kayseri.
The Minister for Energy Taner Yıldız was hopeful at the signature ceremony held among the OMV from Austria, Mol from Hungary, Transgaz from Romania, Energy Holding from Bulgaria, RWE from Germany and Botaş from Turkey.
He had said that the technical and legal infrastructure of the Nabucco project had been finalized with the signing ceremony.
However, the Azerbaijan Energy Minister Natık Aliyev’s negative statements about Nabucco at the World Economic Forum in Istanbul last year was remarkable:
“We have waited for Nabucco for a very long time. It had been said it would cost 5-7 billion euros when the project was first put forward. Nowadays, 10 billion Euros is being mentioned. What is the need for Nabucco after the Trans Anatolia Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) has been signed between Azerbaijan and Turkey?”
Due to Azerbaijan’s rightful impatience the Nabucco consortium suggested the Nabucco-West project that halves the pipeline.
The Shah Deniz-II consortium (British BP, Azeri Socar, Norwegian Statoil, French Total), which will pass Azerbaijani gas to Europe, chose last weekend the Trans-Atlantic (TAP), which will transfer the gas from the Turkish border to Greece, Albania and Italy over the Adriatic Sea, rather than the Nabucco-West project.
TAP, which is 500 kilometers shorter than Nabucco-West, will cost less.
The TAP consortium should have calculated this precisely.
That the Shah Deniz-II consortium has made its decision towards TAP has been received with utmost happiness in Greece.
The Greek Prime Minister Samaras’s speech delivered right after the news broke is extremely meaningful.
“It is a restoration of trust for a Greece in crisis that TAP was chosen. The disaster scenarios for our country have come to an end. A Euro exit is also out of the question.”
According to Samaras’s statement, once TAP finds life it will create 2,000 direct employments in Greece, where the unemployment rate is around 27 percent.
While the project is backed up by around 10,000 Greek companies, it will attract 1.5 billion euros of investment.
Turning Greece into an energy hub will pave the way for future foreign investments, according to Samaras.
I am not mistaken when I say Nabucco – while dying – has given Greece a kiss of life.