11/10/2008

EU envoy sees Caspian gas deal with Turkey in 2009

Reuters - European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said he hoped Europe and Turkey would reach a deal early next year on transit terms to make the planned $12 billion Nabucco gas pipeline a reality. But he also admitted that the viability of the pipeline could be threatened by the energy deals that Russia is pursuing in the Caspian region. The long-delayed project is intended to carry 30 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Central Asian gas a year to Europe via Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary as part of a plan to reduce Europe's dependency on Russian gas. August's war between Russia and Georgia, one of the transit countries, increased doubts about the security of investing in the turbulent region. But Piebalgs said the EU was still committed to Nabucco and another pipeline project called ITGI. The ITGI pipeline is one day expected to carry 12 bcm of Caspian gas a year via Turkey and Greece and Italy. Both are key to the efforts of the 27-member bloc to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.