The Nabucco natural gas pipeline saga has been running since the 1990s. Considered technically feasible back then, Nabucco (short for Nebuchadnezzar) has been derailed by recurring uncertainties.
Recently, a key EU official dubbed the project unrealistic, difficult to fund, and dependent upon insufficient gas reserves in the Caspian region.
So is Nabucco really a pipe dream?
There is some good news for the project’s consortium, which includes Austria’s OMV, Hungary’s MOL, Botas of Turkey, Transgas of Romania, and Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz. The World Bank warned that the project needed additional backing, and now Germany’s RWE and Gaz de France have declared their interest in joining in. The EU has also begun talks toward securing a supply of Turkmenistan’s gas for Nabucco. (Russia’s Gazprom currently dominates the market for Turkmeni gas, which it gets at below-market prices. So the Turkmenis have an interest in finding other partners.) In addition, a new Iran-Turkey energy deal signed in July may provide a vital overland transit linking the Turkmen gas to Nabucco.
Even so, Nabucco’s future still looks rocky. The project’s backers have yet to secure any firm gas commitments to the pipeline. And although RWE and Gaz de France might want to join, the EU’s unbundling policy makes it harder for Europe’s biggest energy companies to commit. (energytribune)