The consortium developing the Shah Deniz 2 gas field on Azerbaijan’s shelf in the Caspian Sea has picked the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) over Nabucco West to deliver gas to European consumers, reports in international media said on June 26.
Adding weight to such reports, Austrian gas company OMV, one of the shareholders in the Nabucco West project, said in a statement that it has been informed by the Shah Deniz consortium that Nabucco West had not been picked.
In Greece, Kathimerini daily said that Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras has been informed that TAP was chosen over Nabucco West.
The Shah Deniz consortium – which includes British Petroleum, French firm Total, Norway’s Statoil and Azeri state-owned company Socar – was due to decide between TAP and Nabucco West by the end of June.
The gas field is expected to yield 16 billion cubic metres of gas a year, of which six billion cubic metres would be shipped to Turkey using the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and the other 10 billion cubic metres – to Western Europe.
TAP and Nabucco West were both meant to link to TANAP at the Turkish border, but would follow very different routes – TAP would cross Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, landing in southern Italy; Nabucco West would pass through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary before reaching Austria.
Both projects are seen as rivals to the South Stream pipeline project, pushed by Russia’s state-owned gas company Gazprom, because they would offer an alternative source of gas for European consumers. Nabucco West, however, is seen as a more direct competitor, since its route is closer to that of South Stream (which will cross the Black Sea before passing through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and ending in northern Italy).
TAP and Nabucco West both had secured memorandums with the Shah Deniz group giving the consortium the option for a 50 per cent stake in the pipeline project they picked. TAP’s current shareholders are Statoil, Switzerland’s EGL and Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas.
(Photo: Jayesh Nair)