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Nabucco Status Update

Now that construction of the Southstream pipeline has started, what is the status of Nabucco? Nabucco is a planned pipeline between the Caspian and Austria and is preferred by the US, for geopolitical reasons, namely to decrease Europe’s dependence on Russia concerning carbon fuels. But there are so many problems that it is unclear if will ever come off the ground. To start with it does not make sense to build a pipeline if there is no gas to transport. The main candidate supplier would be Iraq with potential additional supplies from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Egypt. But Iraq is not very stable.

[] – Even US magazine Forbes admits: “The Failure of Nabucco and the Future of Russian Energy.” (Feb 7, 2012).


[] – And German weekly der Spiegel, a Washington subservient with little affinity for Russia admits: “Europe’s Failed Natural Gas Strategy”. Translation: US preferred Nabucco is going nowhere, where the Russians are building pipeline after pipeline. Shortly after completion of the second Northstream pipeline, Gazprom wants to build a third and fourth, directly connecting Russia with Germany, circumventing Poland, Belorussia and the Ukraine (May 18, 2012).

[] – Reinhard Mitschek, CEO of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International: “Nabucco Will Be Profitable”. Despite the departure of RWE from Nabucco, Mitschek is confident that the Nabucco pipeline will be able to transmit up to 23 billion m3/year. The volume of gas production in Azerbaijan will increase to 20 bcm/a by 2015 and up to 40-50 bcm/a by 2025. Furthermore Mitschek does not doubt that the Shah Deniz consortium will decide on Nabucco in June 2013.(Dec 13, 2012).

[] – Bulgaria Gives Nod to Nabucco’s EIA. The Bulgarian government has given the nod to the Nabucco consortium’s Environmental Impact Assessment for the portion of the pipeline in that country (Dec 21, 2012).

[] – Meanwhile Nabucco itself seems to have given up the idea to build a pipeline from the Caspian to Europe and now proposes merely a pipeline from the Turkish-Bulgarian border into Europe (“Nabucco-West”). This pipeline should be connected to the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), a project that is still in the planning stages.

[] – Shah Deniz II to acquire stake in Nabucco West gas pipeline. New reports indicate that Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II gas group could agree to take over a 50% stake in the Nabucco pipeline consortium in early 2013. Such a move would boost the EU-backed gas pipeline’s prospects in a competition between projects that aim to flow Azeri gas into Europe. (Dec 21, 2012)

Capacity natural gas pipelines into Europe:
Nordstream55 bcm/a (operational)
Trans-Siberian Pipeline32 bcm/a (operational)
Yamal33 bcm/a (operational)
Southstream63 bcm/a (under construction)
2nd Nordstream55 bcm/a ? (planned)
Nabucco10 bcm/a (planned) []

In other words, even if Nabucco is completed it will transport only a small amount of natural gas into Europe compared to the potential of 238 bcm/a from Russia. In geopolitical terms Nabucco is a non-issue.

[] – Russia in the European energy sector.


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