Nabucco Partners to Finalize Production Deal in April

ANKARA (Anatolia News Agency)–The partners in the planned Nabucco natural-gas pipeline to Europe will conclude a production-sharing agreement in April, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Thursday.

A Project Support Agreement (PSA) will be clarified and then signed, he added.

Nabucco is a strategic and commercial effort supported politically by Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, the minister told reporters after a meeting in Ankara that was attended by representatives of all the countries participating in the pipeline project.

“Turkey is lending its full political support to Nabucco,” Yildiz added.

Reinhard Mitschek, a high-level executive with the project, said that an intergovernmental agreement had been signed for Nabucco in 2009 and that extremely crucial developments are expected this year. According to Mitschek, natural gas will start to flow through the pipeline in 2014.

The Turkish Parliament approved on March 4 a bill on a deal signed with the other four countries to launch the Nabucco pipeline project, which will link Europe to the Caspian Sea region and is considered a key step toward reducing Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. Under the law approved by Parliament, the pipeline will carry Caspian natural gas to Austria through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

Yildiz told lawmakers that the state-owned Turkish Pipeline Company (BOTAS) and the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) could create partnerships with international firms. “Energy diplomacy is like chess. When you see a move, you have to make one as well,” he said.

Responding to a question about whether a new partner for the project was needed, Yildiz said Nabucco was an ever-developing project and would therefore always be open to new partnership deals. “However, the new partner needs be at a level where it can provide full support and contribute something valuable to the project,” he added.

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