Friday, July 13, 2012

Nabucco West Wins Semi Finals

Nabucco West, the European remnant of the EU supported Nabucco pipeline, has been chosen by the Shah Deniz 2 consortium as their potential northern route.  The original Nabucco pipeline, now known as Nabucco classic, was shorn of its length in Azerbaijan and Turkey by the intergovernmental approval of the TANAP pipeline.

The victory of Nabucco West is not a small one.  The lead investor in Shah Deniz 2 is British Petroleum, and BP had their own pipeline proposal:  the South East Europe Pipeline (SEEP).   Nabucco West was probably able to secure the consortium's support because it has transit approvals from the countries through which it would run; SEEP had not advanced beyond the concept page.

"The Nabucco West project, with a route running from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to Baumgarten (in Austria) has been selected as the single pipeline option for the potential export of Shah Deniz Stage II gas to Central Europe,"  BP announced.

Nabucco welcomed the news.  Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of Nabucco Gas Pipeline Internation, issued a statement that, "This decision is an important milestone for the Nabucco project and a major step towards the final investment decision."

While Nabucco West has been chosen as the consortium's choice for a route to Central Europe, the consortium has also picked the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as their choice for a delivery route to Southern Europe.  Nabucco will chose in 2013 whether the gas will go north or south.  So, the semifinals in this competition are over, and the final competition will face off Nabucco West and TAP.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger did not take a position on which route was preferable.  "With this pre-selection, we are a step closer to getting gas directly from Azerbaijan and other countries in the Caspian region.  Whatever the final decison on the whole route from the eastern part of Turkey to Europe, Azerbaijani gas is certain to come to Europe," he wrote.  "This is a success for Europe and for our security of supply."