The much-anticipated EU-sponsored Nabucco gas transit pipeline will be delayed by two years, the Nabucco consortium has announced raised doubts of increasing uncertainty about the project.
Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH has pushed back the start of construction of its EUR 7.9 B pipeline to carry Caspian natural gas to Europe to 2013; thus, Nabucco is now expected to start operations in 2017 instead of 2015, as previously expected, the company said in a statement.
"The timeline has changed as a direct result of the changes in the timing for gas supplies in the Caspian and Middle East regions, as announced by potential suppliers. Construction is envisaged to commence in 2013 to align the Nabucco timeline with gas suppliers," the consortium explained on its website.
"Nabucco's progress has been positive so far, with the progress of the Environmental & Social Impact Assessment and concrete steps for procurement and other important work-streams. The Open Season process will start as soon as there are firm indications that gas supply commitments are in place. The Final Investment Decision will be taken consequently. We now expect first gas to flow through the pipeline in 2017. The Nabucco project continues to be driven by the needs of its customers," Reinhard Mitschek, Managing Director, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH, commented.
The Nabucco shareholders are said to have confirmed that "the negotiations with the gas suppliers are encouraging." All gas supply negotiations are being led by the shareholders and by third party gas buyers from Turkey and from Europe and are undertaken completely separate from Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH, which acts as the infrastructure company, Friday's statement notes.
"From today's point of view I don't see further delays. It remains to be seen" when the final investment decision, which was scheduled for this year, would be made," Nabucco Managing Director Reinhard Mitschek told journalists today on a conference call from Vienna as cited by Bloomberg.
Mitschek said Nabucco is open to new partners if there is "added value" and any negotiations would be between the existing partners and a potential new one, which is probably the first time the consortium leadership admitted it was ready to consider linking with other rival projects.
"If that can deliver added value, then we'll take all shippers on board. We see Nabucco as a backbone and frontrunner. We are open to links to branch lines," Mitschek stated.