July 13, 2009

Nabucco pipeline finds backers

Russia's hold on the European natural gas market is being challenged by a consortium of interests intent on building a pipeline from Turkey to central Europe.

Officials from six countries are meeting in Turkey to sign an agreement to construct a pipeline that would run from Turkey to Austria, crossing through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, CNN reported Monday.

The $11 billion project called Nabucco has U.S. support and would challenge the proposed South Stream pipeline Russia intends to build under the Black Sea connecting Russia with Italy.

The Nabucco pipeline would rely on natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz 2 field, CNN said. Officials said natural gas from Turkmenistan and Iraq may also find its way through the pipeline.

Interest in the Nabucco project received a boost last winter, when a dispute between Russia and Ukraine resulted in a supply line shutdown that left many in Europe scrambling for alternative fuel sources.