An intergovernmental transit agreement for the Nabucco natural gas pipeline will be signed in Turkey later today.
The pipeline, meant to relieve European dependence on Russian gas, is expected to bring Caspian and Middle East gas to Europe as early as 2014. Representatives from Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria will sign the accord. Germany is also a consortium member but has not transit role. A firm transit agreement could increase competition between Nabucco and its rival, the Russian South Stream pipeline. It would allow the EU-backed project to start work on agreements for firms to buy quotas of the pipeline’s capacity. The South Stream project pulled ahead in the race for customers this week, when Azerbaijan promised Gazprom priority in buying gas from one of its major sources. The signing of the Nabucco agreement has been delayed by demands from Turkey, which has few hydrocarbon resources of its own. Insiders say Ankara’s demands to use 15 percent of the pipeline’s capacity for its own domestic use have now been resolved.