Location of the Nabucco pipeline
|Country||Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria|
|Passes through||İnegöl, Yuluce, Kırklareli, Kofcas, Lozenets, Oryahovo, Port of Bechet, Nădlac, Dolj, Mehedinti, Caras-Severin, Timiş, and Arad|
|To||Baumgarten an der March, Austria|
|Operator||Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH|
|Length||3,893 km (2,419 mi)|
|Maximum discharge||31 billion cubic metres (1.1×1012 cu ft) per year|
|Diameter||56 in (1,422 mm)|
|Country||Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria|
|Passes through||Lozenets, Oryahovo, Port of Bechet, Nădlac, Dolj, Mehedinti, Caras-Severin, Timiş, and Arad|
|To||Baumgarten an der March, Austria|
|Operator||Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH|
|Length||1,312 km (815 mi)|
|Maximum discharge||10 billion cubic metres (0.35×1012 cu ft) per year|
|Diameter||56 in (1,422 mm)|
The Nabucco-West pipeline (also referred to as the Turkey–Austria gas pipeline) is a proposed natural gas pipeline from Turkey-Bulgaria border to Austria. It is a modification of the original Nabucco Pipeline project which was to run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March in Austria. The aim of the Nabucco pipeline is to diversify the natural gas suppliers and delivery routes for Europe, thus reducing European dependence on Russian energy. The original project was backed by several European Union member states and by the United States, and was seen as a rival to the South Stream pipeline project. The main supplier was expected to be Iraq, with potential supplies from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Egypt. The main supply for the Nabucco West would be Shah Deniz gas through the proposed Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP).
The project is being developed by a consortium of six companies. Preparations started in 2002 and the intergovernmental agreement between Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria was signed on 13 July 2009. After an announcement of the construction of TANAP, the consortium has submitted the Nabucco-West project. Construction of Nabucco-West depends on the gas export route decision by the Shah Deniz consortium which is expected by 30 June 2013. If built, Nabucco-West is expected to be operational by 2017.
The Nabucco project is backed by the European Union and the United States. In the Trans-European Networks - Energy (TEN - E) programme, the Nabucco pipeline is designated as of strategic importance. An objective of the project is to connect the European Union better to the natural gas sources in the Caspian Sea and the Middle East regions. The project has been driven by the intention to diversify its current energy supplies, and to lessen European dependence on Russian energy—the biggest supplier of gas to Europe. The Russia–Ukraine gas disputes have been one of the factors driving the search for alternative suppliers, sources, and routes. Moreover, as per the European Commission, Europe's gas consumption is expected to increase from 502 billion cubic metres, in 2005, to 815 billion cubic metres in 2030, which would mean Russia alone would not be able to meet the demand.
Preparations for the Nabucco project started in February 2002 when first talks took place between Austrian OMV and Turkish BOTAŞ. In June 2002, five companies (OMV of Austria, MOL Group of Hungary, Bulgargaz of Bulgaria, Transgaz of Romania and BOTAŞ of Turkey) signed a protocol of intention to construct the Nabucco pipeline. The protocol followed by the cooperation agreement in October 2002. The name Nabucco comes from the same famous opera of Giuseppe Verdi, that the five partners had listened to at the Vienna State Opera after this meeting. In December 2003, the European Commission awarded a grant in the amount of 50% of the estimated total eligible cost of the feasibility study including market analysis, and technical, economic and financial studies. On 28 June 2005, the joint venture agreement was signed by five Nabucco partners. The ministerial statement on the Nabucco pipeline was signed on 26 June 2006 in Vienna. On 12 September 2007, Jozias van Aartsen was nominated by the European Commission as the Nabucco project coordinator. In February 2008, German RWE became a shareholder of the consortium.
On 11 June 2008, the first contract to supply gas from Azerbaijan through the Nabucco pipeline to Bulgaria was signed. The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev confirmed on 29 January 2009, that Azerbaijan was planning to at least double its gas production in the coming five years to supply the pipeline. On 12 April 2009, the Minister of Energy of Turkey Hilmi Güler confirmed that Turkey is ready to sign a deal, provided that Turkey gets 15% of the natural gas to be carried through the Nabucco pipeline.
On 27 January 2009, the Nabucco Summit held in Budapest. On 24–25 April 2009, the Nabucco pipeline was discussed, among other energy issues, at the high-level energy summit in Sofia, and on 8 May 2009, at the Southern Corridor Summit in Prague.
The intergovernmental agreement between Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria was signed by five prime ministers on 13 July 2009 in Ankara. The European Union was represented at the ceremony by the President Jose Manuel Barroso and the Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs, and the United States was represented by Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Richard Morningstar and Ranking Member of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Senator Richard Lugar. Hungary ratified the agreement on 20 October 2009. Bulgaria ratified the agreement on 3 February 2010. Romania ratified the agreement on 16 February 2010. Turkey became the final country ratifying the agreement on 4 March 2010.
In May 2012, the Nabucco consortium submitted a Nabucco-West proposal to the Shah Deniz consortium. On 10 January 2013, Nabucco International and Shah Deniz partners signed a funding agreement. According to the agreement, Shah Deniz partners will take a 50% stake in the project if chosen as an export route for the Shah Deniz gas. The pipeline selection decision for the Shah Deniz' European export route is expected to be taken by 30 June 2013. On 3 March 2013, Nabucco International signed a memorandum of understanding with the TANAP consortium. Shah Deniz and TANAP consortia have signed similar agreements also with a rival Trans Adriatic Pipeline project partners.
The 3,893 kilometres (2,419 mi) long pipeline was to run from Ahiboz in Turkey via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary to Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria. In Ahiboz, it would be joined with two feeder lines, one connecting to Georgia in the north (South Caucasus Pipeline), and the other connecting to Iraq (pipeline to be built) in the southeast. It would be fed also from the Tabriz–Ankara pipeline. 2,730 kilometres (1,700 mi) of the pipeline was to be laid in Turkey, 412 kilometres (256 mi) in Bulgaria, 469 kilometres (291 mi) in Romania, 384 kilometres (239 mi) in Hungary, and 47 kilometres (29 mi) in Austria. The modified Nabucco West is to start from the Turkey–Bulgaria border and further to follow the original route.
From Turkey the Nabucco pipeline will enter Bulgaria and after running 76 kilometres (47 mi) in parallel to the existing gas system will connect to the Bulgarian national gas network at the compressor station of village Lozenets in Yambol Province. After crossing the Balkan Range the pipeline will head 116.3 kilometres (72.3 mi) in a northwesterly direction. After reaching the national northern half-ring it will run 133 kilometres (83 mi) in parallel to the existing East-West gas line and continue 86.5 kilometres (53.7 mi) to northwest before reaching the Danube at Oryahovo. In Bulgaria, Nabucco will have interconnections with the national gas network and will have two off-take systems, compressor stations and pig stations.
In Romania, the pipeline will be crossing into the country under the Danube. The route on the Romanian territory will go from south-west to north-west, its south-western starting point being located at the Danube-crossing point upstream the Port of Bechet, and the north-western end point being located north of Nădlac. The pipe will follow the south western border of Romania and will travel through the counties of Dolj, Mehedinti, Caras-Severin, Timiş, and Arad. The pipeline will cross 11 protected sites, two national parks, three natural reserves, and 57 watercourses, namely major rivers such as: Jiu, Coşuştea, Cerna, Bela Reca, Timiş, Bega, and Mureş, as well as their tributaries. The terrain is rockier in Romania and mainly constituted of limestone. This section is 469 kilometres (291 mi) long.
Technical features 
In early years after completion the deliveries are expected to be between 4.5 and 13 billion cubic metres (160×109 and 460×109 cu ft) per year. Around 2020, the supply volume is expected to reach 31 billion cubic metres (1.1 trillion cubic feet) per year, of which up to 16 billion cubic metres (570 billion cubic feet) will go to Baumgarten. The diameter of the pipeline would be 56 inches (1,400 mm). The Nabucco-West proposal foresees a capacity of 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet).
The Nabucco project is included in the EU Trans-European Energy Network programme and a feasibility study for the Nabucco pipeline has been performed under an EU project grant. The front end engineering and design (FEED) services of the pipeline, including the overall management of the local FEED contractors, the review of the technical feasibility study, route confirmation, preparation of the design basis, hydraulic studies, overall SCADA and telecommunications, GIS and preparation of tender packages for the next phase, was managed by UK-based consultancy Penspen. Starting from 14 December 2011, WorleyParsons was appointed as on owner's engineer.
The pipeline, initially estimated at €7 billion, is in 2011 estimated to cost €12–15 billion. The final investment decision is expected in 2012. The sources of financing of the Nabucco project are not decided yet. As a commercial project, it will be financed 30% by the project's partners and the rest by commercial financial instruments. The European Commission has awarded an EU project grant in the amount of 50% of the estimated total eligible cost of the feasibility study and has also decided to allocate €200 million from the European Economic Recovery Plan. To receive this financing, this grant should be committed by the end 2010.
At the Nabucco Summit held in Budapest on 27 January 2009, the heads of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) confirmed, that they are prepared to provide financial backing for the project. On 5 February 2010, the EIB vice-president Mathias Kollatz-Ahnensaid that Nabucco consortium is seeking up to €2 billion (20–25% of costs) financing from the bank. The EIB is ready to participate in the financing of this project; however, the precondition is that the partner countries should legally approve the pipeline's transit in their countries.
In September 2010, the consortium signed an agreement with EIB, EBRD, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), according to which the banks will conduct due diligence for a financing package of €4 billion. Up to €2 billion will be signed by the EIB, up to €1.2 billion by the EBRD, and up to €800 million by the IFC.
Supply sources 
The potential suppliers for original Nabucco project were considered to be Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Egypt. At the first stage, 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year were expected from Iraq. Iraqi gas would be imported via the Arab Gas Pipeline (extension to be built) from the Ekas field. Turkmenistan would provide 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet) of gas per year through Iran or across the Caspian Sea via the planned Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline. OMV and RWE have set up a joint venture, named the Caspian Energy Company, to carry out research for a gas pipeline across the Caspian Sea. In the long term, Kazakhstan may become a supplier providing natural gas from the Northern Caspian reserves through the planned Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.
Egypt could provide 3–5 billion cubic metres (110×109–180×109 cu ft) of natural gas through the Arab Gas Pipeline. Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has urged Egypt to export natural gas to Europe via the Nabucco pipeline. Iran has also proposed to supply gas to Nabucco pipeline and this was backed by Turkey; however, due the political conditions this is rejected by the EU and the United States.
Project company 
The project is developed by the Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH. The managing director of the company is Reinhardt Mitschek. The shareholders of the company are:
- OMV (Austria)
- MOL (Hungary)
- Transgaz (Romania)
- Bulgargaz (Bulgaria)
- BOTAŞ (Turkey)
- RWE (Germany)
Each of the shareholders holds 16.67% of the shares.
RWE and MOL have indicated that they may leave the project.
It has been agreed that Shah Deniz partners will take a 50% stake in the project if Nabucco West will be chosen for the Shah Deniz gas export.
Alternative projects 
Main competitor for the original project was South Stream. In 2006, Gazprom proposed an alternative project, in competition with the Nabucco pipeline, that would involve constructing a second section of the Blue Stream pipeline beneath the Black Sea to Turkey, and extending this up through Bulgaria and Serbia to western Hungary. In 2007, instead the South Stream project through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia to Austria and Italy was proposed. On 10 March 2010, CEO of Eni, a partner in South Stream, Paolo Scaroni proposed to merge Nabucco and South Stream projects to "reduce investments, operational costs and increase overall returns". This proposal was rejected by energy minister of Russia Sergei Shmatko saying that "South Stream is more competitive than Nabucco" and that "Nabucco and South Stream are far from being competitors". According to Nobuo Tanaka, former executive director of the International Energy Agency, the Nabucco pipeline would be more effective in increasing Europe's energy security than the South Stream project as it would increase the number of gas suppliers.
Even more important competitor became TANAP which would follow the Nabucco's original route in Turkey. Therefore Nabucco consortium modified the project and sees the modified Nabucco-West as a prolongation of TANAP into Central Europe.
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline and the Interconnector Turkey–Greece–Italy (ITGI) projects has been seen as competing projects. According to Turkish energy minister Taner Yıldız Turkey supported combining Nabucco and Interconnector Turkey–Greece–Italy projects. However, that did not happen and ITGI has fallen from the competition to get Shah Deniz gas. Choice between Nabucco and Trans Adriatic Pipeline is expected by 30 June 2013. It is still possible that both pipelines will be built but not at the same time.
Competitor to Nabucco, and to pipelines generally, is liquefied natural gas. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania nad Hungary are developing Azerbaijan–Georgia–Romania Interconnector project, which is proposed to transport Azerbaijani gas to Europe in form of LNG. Increasing availability of LNG from large gas-producing countries in the Middle-East and Africa stresses the economic viability of pipelines.
Controversial aspects 
Economic and political aspects 
The Nabucco pipeline will supply only a limited number of countries in South-East and Central Europe. The project has been criticized as uneconomic because there is no guarantee that there will be sufficient gas supplies to make it profitable. Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has stated "speaking about the Nabucco pipeline without Iran's participation would amount to nothing but a pipeline void of gas". Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has made similar remarks. The deputy chairman of the Russia's State Duma Energy Committee Ivan Grachev has questioned the viability of the Nabucco project and sees it as an attempt to put pressure on Russia. This is supported by Russia's gas deals with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, which by some observers has been seen as attempt to reserve potential Nabucco supplies. Azerbaijan has stated that the gas will be transported only through those routes, which would be commercially most attractive. Also the opening of the Central Asia – China gas pipeline and the agreements to build the South Stream pipeline has been seen as the end of Nabucco project.
However, before the raise of project's costs and the proposal of modified project, RWE had claimed that the transportation of natural gas through the Nabucco pipeline would be cheaper than through South Stream or other alternative pipelines. According to RWE, the transportation of thousand cubic meters of gas from Shah Deniz field to Europe will cost through the Nabucco pipeline €77 versus €106 through the South Stream pipeline.
Fossil fuels 
Some NGOs criticize the EIB and EBRD for their willingness to finance a fossil fuel project, claiming that it goes against the November 2007 resolution on trade and climate change passed in the European Union Parliament. The resolution calls for "the discontinuation of public support via export credit agencies and public investment banks, for fossil fuel projects." Non-governmental organizations also show disapproval, due to the public banks decision to be lenient to Turkmenistan Human and civil rights conditions.
Security aspects 
Concerns have been raised about the safety of the project. The pipeline will cross through unstable area of Turkey's South East region. In recent years Kurdistan Workers' Party claimed responsibility for blowing up the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline and the Tabriz–Ankara pipeline in Turkey. Gas for the Nabucco pipeline coming from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan will have to pass near areas of instability in the South Caucasus.
See also 
Further reading 
- Kusznir, Julia: "The Nabucco Gas Pipeline Project and its Impact on EU Energy Policy in the South Caucasus" in the Caucasus Analytical Digest No. 33
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- Socor, Vladimir (23 May 2012). ""Nabucco-West": Abridged Pipeline Project Officially Submitted to Shah Deniz Consortium". Eurasia Daily Monitor 9 (98) (Heritage Foundation). Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- Socor, Vladimir (11 May 2012). "Nabucco-West in Synergy with Trans-Anatolia Project". Eurasia Daily Monitor 9 (90) (Heritage Foundation). Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- "Joint declaration of Nabucco Shareholders, NIC, Potential Investors and Shah Deniz Consortium". Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH (NIC). Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- Taylor, Paul (22 February 2008). "U.S. throws weight behind EU's Nabucco pipeline". Reuters. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- Nicola, Stefan (5 February 2008). "Analysis: Europe's pipeline war". United Press International. Retrieved 24 February 2008.
- Grove, Thomas; Coskun, Orhan (13 July 2009). "Turkish PM says wants Nabucco to transport Iran gas". Reuters. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- Cendrowicz, Leo (13 July 2009). "Europe Tries to Break Its Russian Gas Habit". Time. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
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- Decision No 1364/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 laying down guidelines for trans-European energy networks (TEN-E) (PDF). European Commission. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "Bulgarian Parliament Ratifies Nabucco Gas Pipeline Project". RTTNews. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- Exemption decision on the Romanian section of the Nabucco pipeline (PDF). European Commission. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- Exemption decision on the Hungarian section of the Nabucco pipeline (PDF). European Commission. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- Exemption decision on the Bulgarian section of the Nabucco pipeline (PDF). European Commission. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "Independence Day For European Gas". Spiegel Online International. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
- "EU backs Nabucco pipeline to get off Russian gas". AFP (France 24). 27 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
- Lobjakas, Ahto (13 July 2009). "'Strategic' Nabucco Deal Inked To Help Curb Dependence On Russian Gas". RFE/RL. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
- Dempsey, Judy (22 December 2009). "Hoping for More Than Just Energy From a Pipeline". New York Times. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
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- "Declaration of the Budapest Nabucco Summit". Budapest Nabucco Summit. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
- "Hopes revived for stalled Nabucco pipeline". EurActiv. 18 September 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
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- Dempsey, Judy (11 June 2008). "EU natural gas pipeline project gets first order". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
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