Germany’s second largest energy company RWE has announced its intention to join the international consortium for the construction of the Nabucco transcontinental gas pipeline from Central Asia to the European Union. RWE management will sign an agreement and become the sixth member of this ambitious project.
The Nabucco consortium now includes energy companies from Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. The pipeline with a length of 3.3 thousand km and a cost of $ 7.4 billion is designed to provide alternative ways of supplying natural gas to the EU bypassing the territory of Russia. Brussels hopes that through a new highway its gas will be exported to the EU by Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and then Iran, Iraq and Egypt. However, according to the publication, the European Union was “panicked” by the unexpected termination of gas supply by Turkmenistan to Iran in December due to extremely cold weather, which led to an increase in gas consumption within this Central Asian republic. As a result, Iran reduced gas supplies to Turkey, which, in turn, led to a shortage of “blue fuel” in the southern EU countries, including Greece. Interruptions in gas supplies from Turkmenistan are a “scary signal” for future consumers, the newspaper quoted Michael Liliveld, an analyst with PFC Energy. As a result, according to experts, the entire Nabucco project looks more and more illusive.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighborhood Policy, said the EU supports the trans-Caspian gas pipeline and Nabucco. “These projects are within the EU’s interests, and we urge Azerbaijan to support them as well,” she said, stressing that Brussels plans to cooperate with Baku in the implementation of any projects designed to transport natural gas from Central Asia to Europe. According to the chairman of the EU Council on Foreign Affairs, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupela, “The EU is interested in the multivariance of sources and routes of energy exports to Europe.” He stressed that the Nabucco project “is very significant for both Europe and Azerbaijan, which is turning into one of the important centers for the production and transportation of energy resources.