The EU’s Nabucco project has failed to receive the backing of Caspian sea countries at a Prague summit exploring ways to improve the transport and supply of energy into Europe.
EU leaders want to bolster ties with Iraq, Egypt and Turkey, among others, to create a new so-called “southern corridor” for gas imports in order to be less reliant on Russia, which currently accounts for a quarter of all the gas burned in the bloc. But Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have refused to sign a final declaration backing Nabucco. On the other hand, the project has been welcomed by Azerbaijan and Egypt along with Turkey and Georgia. Iraq also is seen as a promising new source of gas for the proposed Nabucco pipeline, which has so far only sourced one fifth of the Azeri gas needed to justify its construction. The EU will also ask energy producers to set aside specific volumes of oil and gas for its use. The aim is to guarantee supplies in case of a repeat of the row in January between Moscow and Ukraine which led to a cut in supplies to Europe in the depths of winter.