It would seem that the Nabucco pipeline, which was supposed to carry gas to Europe and guarantee independence from Russia, is becoming increasingly expensive. The costs are said to have almost doubled from around EUR 8 billion to around EUR 15 billion. In addition, there still seems to be no prospect of viable gas supply contracts being concluded with Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan.
In late April 2012, the Hungarian energy group MOL announced that the financial outlay on Nabucco was no longer justifiable and that it had therefore not approved the project’s budget for 2012. In mid‑May, German energy group RWE also issued a public statement indicating that it too was considering withdrawing from the gas pipeline project.
Reports indicate that a smaller-scale project, Nabucco West, is under discussion as an alternative. This would involve transporting gas to Austria from the Bulgarian-Turkish border (instead of building the pipeline from the Caspian Sea, as originally planned). What is more, Azerbaijan’s energy minister has apparently already concluded supply agreements with Turkey (what might be termed a gas pipeline to Europe without Nabucco).
1. In the Commission’s view, is the ‘Nabucco West’ alternative now under discussion enough to enhance Europe’s energy independence?
2. Would/will a scaled-down project such as this receive the same support at EU level as the original Nabucco project?
3. Can the Commission confirm that Azerbaijan has in fact already concluded comprehensive supply contracts with Turkey?
4. If so, what view does the Commission take of a scenario involving EU energy dependence on Turkey?