US Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy at the Mission of the United States to the European Union C. Boyden Gray said following a meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Kinga Göncz that the United States still does not support the idea of including Iranian and Russian gas in the Nabucco gas-pipeline project.
Gray said that inclusion of Russian gas in the Nabucco project would contravene the original purpose of the pipeline, which was to diversify Europe's gas-supply sources.
Göncz told MTI that the possibility of including Iranian and Russian gas in the Nabucco pipeline project cannot be excluded, adding that this issue will be the subject of a future agreement. Hungary's foreign minister said that there is a clear difference of opinion between the United States and Hungary with regard to this issue, which the US views primarily in strategic terms and Hungary and the European Union in supply terms.
Hungary's ambassador for the construction of the Nabucco pipeline, Mihály Bayer, told Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that the Nabucco consortium will have to count on gas from Iran sooner or later and that it must not rule out the possibility of obtaining gas from Russia either. "Iran could be one of its (the pipeline's) most important sources," Bayer said.
Bayer commented that the Nabucco pipeline is expected to start operating in 2013, as planned, in spite of an increase in estimated construction costs. The cost of the Nabucco investment is expected to be recouped in 10-20 years, Bayer added, noting that the pipeline is expected to operate for 50-60 years.
Gray said on Friday that the Nabucco project is farther along than the South Stream pipeline, adding that countries in the Caspian Sea region are eager to begin selling gas to Western Europe as soon as possible. (MTI – Econews)