12 luglio 2006
Nabucco opens the gates of Vienna
Nabucco opens the gates of Vienna
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Turkey's negotiations for full EU membership will still be taking place by the time the Nabucco natural gas project is operational in 2011. Experts indicate that the pipeline to Europe, which traverses Turkey, will be even more meaningful during Ankara’s membership talks
ISTANBUL – TDN/Referans
One of the most challenging projects Europe has ever undertaken is a natural gas project known as Nabucco, although the pipeline has not even been built yet.
The negotiations Turkey is conducting with the European Union to become a full member of the bloc will still be taking place by the time the pipeline is operational in 2011, as planned. Experts indicate that the Nabucco project, so highly valued by the EU, will at that time be even more loaded with meaning and will become a key factor in the membership negotiations with Turkey.
There was a disagreement in 2006 between Russia and Ukraine, a country on the route of the natural gas pipeline Moscow built into Europe. This forced the old continent to utilize the natural gas stocks it had kept in reserve. It was also the time when the EU countries realized that they should not put all their eggs in one basket. Therefore, the significance of the pipeline project aimed to carry natural gas from the Caspian basin, the Caucasus and the Middle East was increased many fold. In other words, Nabucco became the buzzword for a renewed relationship between Ankara and Vienna.
Turkey at energy crossroads:
Turkey is getting ready to hold a ceremony to open the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline on July 13. Experts indicate that the BTC will play a major role in the transportation of Caspian oil to the West. The country may not be fully aware of it yet, but Turkey is sitting in the middle of another major energy route: the natural gas pipeline to Europe.
Nabucco, the name of the Assyrian king that Guiseppe Verdi adopted for one of his operas, carries great significance as it increases the alternatives of natural gas supply to Europe and has the full support of the EU countries. Austria, not so fond of the idea of Turkey becoming a full member of the EU, will decrease its dependence on Russian natural gas once Nabucco becomes a reality. Furthermore, Vienna is seeking to become the center of natural gas supply lines passing through Europe in the future.
OMV asks Turkish government for guarantees and safeguards:
OMV Gas International CEO Werner Auli realizes the significance of Turkey in terms of the Nabucco project: “A discussion is under way with [state-owned Turkish Pipeline Company] Botas to lease the pipeline from Ankara all the way to the eastern border of Turkey for Nabucco. We are asking the Turkish government to give guarantees and safeguards.” The approximate cost of the pipeline is about $4.6 billion, Auli estimates. The first phase of Nabucco is projected to begin in 2007, and it will take four years to complete.
One of the questions concerning the project is the actual origin of natural gas supplies. “We want gas from Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Turkmenistan with the undersea pipeline. Also, Gazprom is thinking about what to do in order to contribute to the Nabucco project. Of course, the Russians can pump gas into Nabucco via Blue Stream,” Auli said. In any case, he explains that Nabucco has two main aims: To increase alternative supply routes and to close the gap between supply and demand in Europe.
New partner wanted:
These days the consortium for the construction of the pipeline is looking for a new partner. Auli indicated that negotiations are already under way and that “the partner will definitely be a European. However, I cannot tell you right now which companies we are negotiating with.”
According to projections, the EU's natural gas needs will increase by 200-300 cubic meters per year. OMV Holding entered the Turkish market by purchasing 34 percent of Petrol Ofisi for $1.1 billion in March. “Turkey is a very interesting and open market. We are new in this market, but why not? And we hope that Turkey's EU negotiations will not affect the Nabucco project.”
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Nabucco Purchasing Manager Johann Gallistl:
Nabucco needs money:
“We need 4.6 billion euros for this project. The European Investment Bank is ready to finance 1 billion euros of it. The World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will also give 400-500 million euros. And the rest will come from expert agencies and private banks. The latter are really interested in this project. They always ask about the projects development. Negotiations are still under way.”
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