Nabucco Pipeline

The Nabucco Pipeline

The Nabucco pipeline is a planned natural gas pipelineTurkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. It will run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria. This pipeline is a diversion from the current methods of importing natural gas solely from Russia. The project is backed by some of the European Union states and the United States.


The preparations of this project started in February 2002 when first talks took place between Austrian OMV and Turkish BOTAŞ. In June 2002, five companies (OMV of Austria, MOL of Hungary, RWE of Germany, Bulgargaz of Bulgaria, Transgaz of Romania and BOTAŞ of Turkey) signed a protocol of intention to construct the Nabucco pipeline, followed by the Cooperation Agreement in October 2002. In December 2003, the European Commission awarded a grant in the amount of 50% of the estimated total eligible costs of the feasibility study including market analysis, technical, economic and financial studies. On 28 June 2005, the Joint Venture Agreement was signed by five Nabucco Partners. Ministerial statement on the Nabucco pipeline was signed on 26 June 2006 in Vienna.

In February 2008, German RWE became a shareholder of the consortium. On 11 June 2008, the first contract to supply gas from Azerbaijan through the Nabucco pipeline to Bulgaria was signed. On 19 January 2009, Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that Turkey may withdraw from the Nabucco project if the country's talks of EU accession remains blocked. However, he stated at the same day later that Turkey supports the Nabucco pipeline and would never use it as a weapon in political disputes.
On 27 January 2009, the Nabucco Summit held in Budapest. At the summit, the heads of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said, that they are prepared to provide financial backing for the Nabucco gas pipeline. On 28 January 2009, the European Commission proposed €250 million euros as a part of its Economic Recovery Plan to be contributed through the European Investment Bank towards funding the Nabucco pipeline.On 29 January 2009, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan was planning to at least double its gas production in the coming five years to supply the pipeline.

The pipeline will run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March in Austria with total length of 3,300 kilometres (2,050 mi). It will be connected near Erzurum with the Tabriz-Erzurum pipeline, and with the South Caucasus Pipeline, connecting Nabucco Pipeline with the planned Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.Polish gas company PGNiG is studying the possibility of building a link to Poland with the Nabucco gas pipeline.

Technical features
In early years after completion the deliveries are expected to be between 4.5 and 13 billion cubic meters (bcm) per annum, of which 2 to 8 bcm goes to Baumgarten. Later, approximately half of the capacity is expected to be delivered to Baumgarten and half of the natural gas is to serve the markets en-route. The transmission volume of around 2020 is expected to reach 31 bcm per annum, of which up to 16 bcm goes to Baumgarten. The diameter of the pipeline would be 56 inches (1,420 mm).


The Nabucco project is included in the EU Trans-European Energy Network programme and a feasibility study for the Nabucco pipeline has been performed under an EU project grant.
Construction of pipeline is expected to begin in 2010 and is planned to be finished in 2013. It estimated to cost around €7.9 billion.The company leading the project is OMV from Austria.
The FEED services of the pipeline, including the overall management of the local FEED contractors, the review of the technical feasibility study, route confirmation, preparation of the design basis, hydraulic studies, overall SCADA and telecommunications, GIS and preparation of tender packages for the next phase, is managed by UK-based consultancy Penspen.

Supply sources

The EU currently relies heavily on natural gas from Russia and is eager to diversify its suppliers. Nabucco pipeline may be supplied with gas from several middle east and central Asian countries :

  • The main source of supply will be the second stage of the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan, coming on-stream in 2013. There is an agreement for 8 bcm of natural gas per annum with further expansion.
  • Turkmenistan would provide for Nabucco 10 bcm of gas annually.. Turkmenistan has large natural gas reserves e.g. the Dauletabad gas field. The natural gas could be transported through Iran or across the Caspian Sea via planned Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.
  • Iran has also proposed to supply gas to Nabucco pipeline, but this is rejected by the EU and the United States.
  • In the long term Kazakhstan, from the Northern Caspian reserves through planned Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.
  • Egypt, which has discovered large gas reserves in the Nile Delta basin during the recent years, could provide 3-5 bcm of natural gas through the Arab Gas Pipeline.
  • Also Iraqi gas would be imported via the Arab Gas Pipeline from the Ekas field.
  • There is also option, that Nabucco could be fed with Russian natural gas through the Blue Stream pipeline.

Project company

The project is developed by the Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH. The managing director of the company is Reinhardt Mitschek.The shareholders of the company are:

  • OMV (Austria)
  • MOL (Hungary)
  • Transgaz (Romania)
  • Bulgargaz (Bulgaria)
  • BOTAŞ (Turkey)
  • RWE (Germany)

All current shareholders have 16.67% of the shares.The Polish gas company PGNiG plans to join the project.

French company Gaz de France was also interested to get a stakes in the pipeline, but was rejected by Turkey. In future the consortium intended to include also the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), however SOCAR has identified a number of problems with its participation. Also Kazakhstan has indicated its readiness to join the project. There are speculations that also Gazprom may be interested to participate in the project.

The European Commission Nabucco coordinator is Jozias van Aartsen.

Alternative projects

In 2006, Gazprom proposed an alternative project competing Nabucco Pipeline by constructing a second section of the Blue Stream pipeline beneath the Black Sea to Turkey, and extending this up through Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia to western Hungary. In 2007, the South Stream project through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary to Austria, or alternatively through Slovenia to Italy, was proposed. It is seen as a rival to the Nabucco pipeline. Ukraine proposed White Stream, connecting Georgia to the Ukrainian gas transport network


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