Bulgarian Energy Holding CEO: Shah Deniz II Consortium May Acquire 50% Stake in Nabucco
The international consortium developing the Shah Deniz II gas field offshore Azerbaijan is expected to sign an agreement to acquire a 50% stake in the Nabucco gas pipeline project, according to Mihail Andonov, CEO of the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH).
BEH is a Nabucco shareholder, alongside Turkish Botas, Romanian Transgaz, Hungarian MOL, Austrian OMV and German RWE, each of them controlling 16.7% stakes.
Austrian Minister of Economy Reinhold Mitterlehner informed in early October that the partners in Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II gas field were in talks for the acquisition of a stake in the Nabucco consortium.
At the beginning of December, it was announced that Austrian OMV was in talks to buy the stake of German RWE in Nabucco.
At a Thursday press conference, Andonov explained that each of the Nabucco shareholders would sell a part of their stake to the Shah Deniz II consortium.
Andonov also told journalists that there were no indications that Botas would leave the Nabucco project.
After the deal, the partners in the Shah Deniz II gas field would control a 50% stake and the Nabucco shareholders would be left with 10% stakes, the CEO of BEH made clear.
Andonov noted that the money that the new participant would pay to enter the Nabucco project would be used to finance the pipeline.
The agreement for the inclusion of the Shah Deniz II consortium as a shareholder in Nabucco is expected to be signed on January 10 in Sofia at a meeting of the energy ministers of countries participating in the gas pipeline project, according to reports of mediapool.bg.
The agreement will determine which pipeline Shah Deniz II partners will use to carry Caspian gas to Europe.
The Shah Deniz II partners are expected to decide between the shorter version of Nabucco, the 1300-km long Nabucco West, and the Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP).
The deal is believed to be essential for the EU/US-backed Nabucco project because it will secure gas supplies, which will enable the Nabucco consortium to obtain loans for the construction of the pipe.
The Shah Deniz II consortium includes UK's BP (25.5%), Norway's Statoil (25.5%), Azerbaijan's SOCCAR (10%), France's Total (10%), Russian-Italian Lukagip (10%), Iran's NIOC (10%), and Turkey's TPAO (9%).
Meanwhile, Kiril Temelkov, Executive Director of state-owned Bulgartransgaz company, announced that the concept for the construction of the Bulgaria-Turkey gas grid interconnection was clear.
He explained that Bulgaria wanted the gas link to be part of Nabucco and to use the EUR 200 M granted by the European Commission for the implementation of the gas pipeline project.
Temelkov declared that the Bulgaria-Turkey gas grid interconnection was to be ready by end-2014.
The CEO of Bulgartransgaz added that no official agreement had yet been signed on the project despite the fact that a number of agreements in support of its implementation were in place.
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