Nabucco Pipeline ‘Likely Operational in 2018’

The European Union-backed gas pipeline Nabucco is likely to begin operations in 2018, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said, a statement which was later denied by the consortium behind the project.

“I hope we will make the final decision in 2010 to build the pipeline,” he said. The odds of that happening were increasing, he told Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published on Thursday.

Oettinger’s comments were denied by the consortium behind the project, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH, which said: “The time schedule remains unchanged. Start of construction will be ready for the first gas deliveries in 2014.”

“This must be a misunderstanding, because we expect to reach the maximum capacity by 2018,” the consortium added.

The six companies which own equal stakes in the pipeline and make up the consortium include Germany’s REW AG, Turkey’s Botas, Bulgarian Energy Holding, Romania’s Transgaz, MOL in Hungary and OMV in Austria.

The 3,300 km pipeline would run from eastern Turkey to eastern Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary, pumping about eight billion cu m annually when it starts operation and 31 billion cu m when it reaches maximum capacity.

Construction has been scheduled to begin in 2011 and the pipeline is expected to deliver the first gas in 2014. The cost of the project is estimated at €7.9 billion.

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