Nabucco Gas Pipeline International, the planned link to carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe, may start commercial shipments in late 2015, Managing Director Reinhard Mitschek said on Thursday in Ankara.
The OMV -led project aims to deliver fuel via Turkey, bypassing Russia as part of the so-called Southern Corridor, supported by the U.S. and European Union. Nabucco is vying with projects backed by Norway’s Statoil and Italy’s Edison for gas from the BP-led Shah Deniz venture in Azerbaijan. Russia has also sought to boost purchases of Azeri gas as it competes for European market share.
Russia may replace the section of its planned South Stream pipeline across the Black Sea to Europe with a liquefied natural gas plant, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Wednesday. Turkey has provided Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, with only an initial permit to study the route through its waters, and the final construction permit was supposed to be granted in November, he said.
“We don’t understand the reason why we haven’t gotten the approval,” Sechin said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not discuss the Black Sea LNG project during a meeting Thursday, Sechin said. The plan would require tankers to pass through the Bosphorus to reach existing terminals.
“Why discuss something we can do on our own?” Sechin said. “This was resolved a hundred years ago.”
The volume of energy traffic through the Bosphorus is already unsafe for Istanbul’s population of 12 million, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said on Jan. 7. Turkish authorities are consulting oil and shipping companies on ways to reduce traffic and make bypass pipelines more economically feasible, he said.