Nabucco's pipes are burning18.10.2011 | 14:23
Project Nabucco, so important for Europe, may sink into oblivion. Europeans, defending the project, faced with the ambitious and arrogant Asiatics - Azeris and Turkmens, who have a lot of gas and no interest in the project. In addition to all other political reasons, Nabucco turns very expensive. GeorgiaTimes asked the Moscow experts, if it is time to read the burial service over the project?
On the eve, Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer arrived to the airport in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, from Baku. The reason for the visit of President of Austria to the distant Central Asian state - is the salvation of Nabucco. The pipeline project is bursting at the seams. Economic crisis occured in the world which is waiting for its second wave, and European countries seem to have no money to build a gas pipeline. Especially after it became known that the cost of the pipe has doubled.
The main advantage of the pipeline was to the cost of construction. So far, the project was estimated at € 7-9 billion. But it now turns out that in fact Nabucco will cost up to € 14 billion, and the final cost of construction is unknown but independent experts have long warned: concerned parties seriously underestimate the scale of required investment.
It's a disaster for Nabucco. Its main political advantage was competition with pipelines of the Gazprom. Fearing energy dependence on Russia as a fire, European countries were willing to lobby for an alternative project at any price. But today it can appear completely useless for a very prosaic reason: there is nobody to pump gas to the pipe.
Austrian President Fischer is knowingly visiting the Central Asian capitals. The keys to Nabucco are in Baku and Ashgabat. But Azerbaijan doesn't need them and they may casually throw them in Caspian Sea. But in Ashgabat, Fisher was recieved warmer: they are ready to continue the talks on the pipeline to infinity - just like that, just in case. Although, in reality, during the negotiations with Fisher, Gurbanguli Berdymukhammedov has again made it clear that Ashgabat is in no need in the Nabucco. And regardless of whether Nabucco will be constructed or not, they will be able to sell their gas for market prices.
By and large, the Europeans' talks with Turkmenistan - is merely a declaration of intent. There's no pipeline on the bottom of Caspian Sea yet. It's unknown if it will be constructed - the construction involves huge risks, primarily financial, but they have no money yet. But before the participants can start the discussion of technical details they need to decide political questions: can the two countries, in this case, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, to use the Caspian Sea area in their own interests, without asking the opinion of other countries of Caspian basin. Russia and Iran believe that they don't.
Simply put, the Nabucco - it's also a great politic. If we sum up all the problems of the project and add the apathy of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, it can be assumed that the pipeline has been sentenced.
Baku delivered the biggest blow on the future of the project. First, the EU Commissioner for Energy Gunther Etinger said that the cost of the project increases. Then Gerhard Reuss - the head of the initiator of the Nabucco (the company OMV Gas) - announced the postponement of the start of gas supplies by pipeline from 2017 to 2018. And then Azerbaijan delivered its devastating verdict: the energy plan of Europeans, eager to get out from under the yoke of the Gazprom, was knocked out from the game with Shah Deniz-2.
Baku made terms to the project participants - to start evacuation of the gas from its fields in 2017. The Nabucco simply has no time within the prescribed period. The situation is compounded by the fact that to date, Azerbaijan is the only real alternative supplier of gas to the pipe. Judging by the results of negotiations of Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Heinz Fischer, Baku has cooled down and got disappointed. And now, Azerbaijani leader evades a specific answer, avoiding saying "yes" or "no". And in this case it actually means - "no".
In this situation it's unclear who will pump gas into the Nabucco pipe, if it will appears. Leading expert of the political conjuncture Dmitry Abzalov commented the situation in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. "Initially, the Nabucco project was stillborn. It became clear that they won't be able to fill the pipe already when Iran refused from participation in the project. In order to somehow support the project, there were offered raw material bases for Turkmenistan. But it is very difficult to build a gas pipeline, so the Nabucco was a purely political idea, a counterweight to Moscow's interests and a sort of a bogeyman", said our source.