Correspondent's Choice

This story about Nabucco’s battle for Azeri gas supplies was published on 10th December 2010.

Pressure is growing on the Nabucco consortium to reveal its hand over its tender for Azeri gas. The winner, to be announced in April, will be the master of Europe’s Southern Gas Corridor, designed to bring gas from sources other than Russia.

Azerbaijan, a key potential supplier country for the Nabucco project, heaped pressure on the pipeline consortium to reveal its intentions, or recognise its alleged weaknesses.

Elshad Nasirov, the country’s top negotiator for a tender to access ten billion cubic metres (bcm) of Azeri gas from the Shah Deniz II field, said that two Nabucco competitors, namely the Turkey-Greece-Italy Interconnector (ITGI) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), would “turn out to be more attractive”.

“We are not going to pay for the empty capacity of Nabucco,” said Nasirov in a much-noticed interview, published by the European Energy Review.

Nasirov was referring to the fact that Nabucco has a designed capacity of 31 bcm, while for the time being, no gas is available to fill the pipeline – except for the 10 bcm at Shah Deniz.

“We do not promise additional gas. Everything depends on the price,” Nasirov said, adding that Azerbaijan would not put “all its eggs in one basket” and hinting that the 10 bcm could be sold to more than one bidder.

“We tell Nabucco: quote your tariff’,” Nasirov said, adding that he was waiting for “a serious proposal from Nabucco” in order to compare it with other proposals. But he made plain that in his view, Nabucco was “still uncertain” without a second source of gas.

A similar message came on Wednesday (8 December) from Umberto Quadrino, CEO of Edison, the Italian energy company promoting ITGI.

“Nabucco doesn’t justify investment for a pipeline with a capacity of 30 bcm,” he said.

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