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Nabucco partners to sign deals in 2008 – BOTAŞ

  Nabucco pipeline members are expected to meet before the end of the year to sign agreements to push forward the long-delayed project, Turkish state energy firm BOTAŞ said on Wednesday.


The pipeline, supported by the European Union, is due to bring 30 billion cubic meters of Caspian and Middle Eastern gas annually from Turkey to an Austrian gas hub via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

The talks would come after some consortium members said have said they want stronger political support for the pipeline and may point to a resolution of contentious demands brought up by Turkey that analysts said tripped up previous talks. “This will be a real discussion on concrete topics ... This will be a political warranty for investors which will help lead toward financial closure of the project,” said BOTAŞ Chairman Huseyin Saltuk Duzyol.

The two agreements, a host-government agreement and an inter-governmental agreement, will sort out how the countries will go about acquiring land for the pipeline as well as work out some tax and customs technicalities. When asked about the timing of the conference he said: “The conference will take place before the end of this year.” Turkey was seen as spoiling previous talks by dragging its feet by trying to secure rights to trade gas flowing through the pipeline. Duzyol said Turkey was not interested in taking Nabucco gas but wanted to take gas from suppliers through the Nabucco pipeline if there was unused capacity. He said drafts of the deals had been circulated among the countries and that after consortium countries approved the agreement at the conference each country would need to ratify the deal in its respective parliament.

Shareholders in Nabucco, designed to decrease Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, are OMV, Hungary’s MOL, Romania’s Transgaz, Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz, Turkey’s BOTAŞ and Germany’s RWE. He said the meeting would probably take place in Vienna, Istanbul or Budapest. (Reuters)