Amid all the hype over the signing of the Nabucco pipeline deal, observers point out that serious questions remain about future supplies and financing.
The Vienna-based Nabucco consortium wants to reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, by pumping some 31 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe every year. With a price-tag of 7.9 billion euros, it will transport gas from the Caspian and the Middle East from 2014. It is hoped about five percent of Europe’s gas needs could be met by the pipeline. But all eyes are on a rival Russian pipeline plan that is edging ahead: the South Stream project. Turkmenistan says it is ready to provide gas for the Nabucco pipeline, just months after Russia halted gas imports from the central Asian state in a row over shipments. Other potential suppliers could be Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Azerbaijan and even Russia. Security for the pipeline has been a big issue, highlighted by an attack on the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline last year.