Nabucco Project Still Breathing

May 2012, Vol. 239 No. 5

An oil rig in the Caspian Sea as seen from Azerbaijan. Photo: Mark Ireland.

The Nabucco pipeline may not be dead yet. A scaled-down version of the long-planned project could end up being folded into a joint Azerbaijani-Turkish effort to transport natural gas from the Caspian Basin to Europe.

In December, Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding to build a trans-Anatolian pipeline, dubbed TANAP, which would deliver Azerbaijani gas to Europe. The project, with a cost estimate of $5 billion, appeared to deliver a death blow to the Nabucco initiative, which has faced repeated delays due to a lack of reliable gas supplies.  

Under the existing TANAP terms, Azerbaijan would deliver 16 Bcm to Turkey per year; Turkey would keep 6 Bcm and the rest would head to European markets. The project is envisioned for completion in 2017.