Magazine article Europe-East

Nabucco Pipeline : Gas Project Closer Than Ever to Realisation, Says Ambassador

Magazine article Europe-East

Nabucco Pipeline : Gas Project Closer Than Ever to Realisation, Says Ambassador

Article excerpt

The plan to build a pipeline bringing non-Russian natural gas from Azerbaijan to Austria, now a cornerstone of the EU's energy strategy, is finally on a good course, a top diplomat whose mission is to catalyse the project has said. 'It has not yet reached the point of no return but it has never been so close to realisation as it is today,' Hungary's Ambassador for Nabucco, Mihaly Bayer, said on 10 June. Bayer said one of the last obstacles, Turkey's demand for a fixed portion of gas transiting the pipeline, has been removed as Ankara now accepts it will be 'a cost-based transmission' principle, and not a 15% lift-off' clause.

He was confident that Nabucco's legal framework, an inter-governmental agreement between EU countries it will transit - Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria - would be signed within a month. 'There is an article on taxation that needs to be fine-tuned but it's technical,' Bayer said, speaking at the Atlantic Council, a think-tank in Washington. He said it might be signed a few days after the 30 June target EU leaders set at a summit in Prague on 8 May. Asked by Europolitics New Meighbours how sure he was that Turkey had backed down on the 15% demand, Bayer admitted 'it is not always sure what their position is', but that they have agreed to cost-based transmission in the draft agreement. Asked why the Turk's demand was unacceptable, he said 'everybody rejects it'. Azerbaijan, a likely source of gas for Nabucco, wants to deliver gas directly to the European market, while the EU transit countries say it makes the project not financially viable for them, he explained. …

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