By JAMES HERRON
LONDON -- UK energy giant BP confirmed over the weekend that a
key European pipeline project to import natural gas from
Azerbaijan, called Nabucco, will be of much more limited scope
than hoped and reach only Europe's border with Turkey.
BP, which operates large oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan,
is no longer considering Nabucco as an option for transporting
10 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Europe, but will instead pursue two
other pipeline plans backed by the state energy companies of
Turkey and Azerbaijan, said Iain Conn, BP's refining and marketing chief, in a
speech posted on the company's website.
Conn's comments, delivered at a Berlin conference on
Thursday, come as little surprise after the Nabucco consortium,
which is backed by European energy firms OMV and RWE,
recently put forward a far less ambitious plan for the pipeline
to run only from Austria to the Bulgarian border with
BP is still considering this shortened pipeline, called Nabucco
West, as an option for delivering Azeri gas into Europe, said
It is also looking at an option called the South East Europe
Pipeline, which is backed by BP, and its partners in
Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas field and the authorities in
Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, he said.
BP will choose one of those options in June and make the
final investment decision within a year, Conn said.
These decisions mark the end of a key strategic initiative
that had considerable political backing from EU and US
authorities, intended to reduce Russian dominance over European
gas supplies by importing gas direct from Central Asia.
Gas from Azerbaijan should still arrive in Europe under the
new plan, but the level of supply BP proposes is just a third
of what was planned for Nabucco.
BP's plan will still deliver, "competitive energy supply
[that] can underpin European competitive advantage,"
Dow Jones Newswires