The EU is looking to sign a deal with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over the supply of natural gas. The talks are part of the European effort to secure supplies for its ongoing Nabucco pipeline investment, built to reduce dependence on Russia.
The EU regulator’s energy unit drafted a document that the parties could use as the basis for a deal on building at least one pipeline across the Caspian Sea, Bloomberg reports. The Nabucco pipeline is planned to transport natural gas to countries in the EU including Austria, Romania and Hungary as early as 2015. One of the shareholders of Nabucco is Hungary’s MOL.
“Without Turkmen gas, Nabucco wouldn’t make sense,” Alexander Rahr , a Russia and Eurasia expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin was cited by Bloomberg “The EU is trying to get this pipeline through, but they’re running out of time as the Turkmen are sending more gas to China.”
Turkmenistan ships gas to Russia and Iran, and opened a pipeline to China last year. Plans to build a link across the Caspian Sea have been frustrated by unresolved marine borders and opposition from Russia and Iran.
The RIA NOVOSTI, Russian international news agency cited last month Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev who said that Kazakhstan is ready to join Nabucco but he seeks more support from the EU. Nazarbayev also added that for Kazakhstan to participate in the EU-backed pipeline project, seen as a rival to Russia's South Stream, there would need to be either a pipeline under the Caspian Sea to connect with Nabucco or at least a gas liquefaction plant on the coast. (BBJ)