EC Admits South Stream, Nabucco Rivalry
The competition between the South Stream and the Nabucco gas pipelines was admitted by EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger.
"South Stream can, in the long term, be considered a rival to the Nabucco project," Oettinger stated as an answer to a journalist's question during the 10th Anniversary of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue High level conference in Brussels, 22 November 2010.
The EC used not to consider the two projects as competitors until recently.
Bulgaria, which already signed the South Stream deal with Russia November 13 2010, is eager to also participate in the Nabucco project, as it is seen as an opportunity for the Balkan country to eliminate its complete energy dependence from Russia.
The South Stream gas transit pipeline is supposed to be ready by 2015. Its construction is expected to cost between EUR 19 B and EUR 24 B. It will be transporting 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, or 35% of Russia's total annual natural gas export to Europe.
The South Stream pipe will start near Novorosiysk on the Russian Black Sea coast, and will go to Bulgaria's Varna; the underwater section will be 900 km long.
In Bulgaria, the pipe is supposed to split in two - one pipeline going to Greece and Southern Italy, and another one going to Austria and Northern Italy through Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.
The other major gas project, the EU-backed Nabucco will directly connect the world's richest gas regions - the Caspian region and the Middle East - to the European consumer markets. It is also planned to pass through Bulgaria.
The pipeline will link the Eastern and Southern border of Turkey to Baumgarten in Austria - one of the most important gas turntables in Central Europe - via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. It will be 3 300 km (1,800-mile) and aims to diversify gas supplies in Europe.
The Nabucco project is estimated to cost EUR 7.9 B.
According to Turkmenistan's First Deputy Prime Minister Baymurad Khojamukhamedov, his country is ready to provide 40 billion cubic meters of gas annually for the Nabucco gas pipeline.
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