Τετάρτη, 5 Νοεμβρίου 2008

EU official on Nabucco tour of Turkey - Το ΙΡΑN θα σώσει τον NABUCO ?

EU official on Nabucco tour of Turkey
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The first leg of a high-level tour by European Union Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs to Turkey and Azerbaijan on behalf of the Nabucco project starts today, said a European news Internet site. The Web site, Euractiv.com, reported the trip was in regard to the role of Azerbaijan and Turkey in the EU's flagship Nabucco pipeline bringing gas to Europe. The visit, initially planned to cover a greater number of supply and transit countries, was finally restricted to just Turkey and Azerbaijan due to calendar constraints, said Piebalgs's spokesperson, Ferran Tarradellas. The commissioner would also like to visit Kazakhstan and Egypt in the short term, Tarradellas told Euractiv. The commissioner would not visit Turkmenistan this time, Tarradellas said. The country, home to the largest gas reserves in the Caucasus, is being heavily courted by Russia to sell its gas to Gazprom at world market prices. Moscow could then resell it to Europe as "Russian" gas, according to the strategy. Piebalgs will hold talks with Energy Minister Hilmi Güler on Thursday and he might also meet with President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as he has asked for an appointment with both of them, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned. The Nabucco project plans to bring Caspian and Middle Eastern gas from Turkey to Austria via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary and be operational by 2013. But the project has been delayed many times and faces uncertainty over securing supplies from nations once part of the Soviet Union and subject to intense lobbying by Russia's Gazprom. The European Union has earmarked the Nabucco pipeline a key component for easing the dependence on Russian gas but has been reluctant to list Iran among potential major suppliers, for political reasons, including opposition from the United States.
A future branch of Nabucco in Iraq, which holds the world's 10th largest gas reserves, is seen by the Commission as “very important,” according to Euractiv. Tarradellas said Iraq had shown interest in selling gas to Nabucco, adding discussions had already taken place about the transfer of substantial amounts of Iraqi gas via Syria and the Trans-Arabian gas pipeline, or directly via a link between Iraq and Turkey.
Recently, the Russian ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, dismissed the potential of the Nabucco project, especially plans to bring gas from Turkmenistan or Azerbaijan, claiming the resources of the two Central Asian countries were insufficient. The only way to fill the Nabucco pipeline was with Iranian gas, he said !!!.
Iran, which holds 15 percent of the world's estimated gas reserves, is not on the commissioner's list due to the uranium enrichment issues between Western countries and Tehran, preventing the EU from developing the project. The Commission's Nabucco coordinator, Jozias van Aartsen, a former Dutch minister of foreign affairs, has been very active in the region, Tarradellas said, but this time efforts have been taken to a higher level. The President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso is also planning to visit the region in the near future. Tarradellas confirmed Nabucco is a project the EU wants to build on "market assumptions," meaning it should be cost-effective and profitable. The rival South Stream project promoted by Gazprom, is seen by specialists as a more "political" project, which is not necessarily cost-effective. But the Commission spokesperson made it plain that the EU did not oppose South Stream, as it would bring more gas to the EU and hopefully also bring prices down. Speaking at a recent plenary session in the European Parliament, parliamentary members criticised the Commission for being slow in starting the Nabucco project. Tarradallas said the commissioner's visit should not be seen as a reaction to this criticism, rather, business as usual in the implementation of a high priority project

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