US Signals It Prefers Nabucco Over Other Pipelines

Friday, October 1st, 2010
by Asbarez

ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)-The United States on Friday signaled for the first
time that Nabucco is its preferred planned natural gas pipeline among
the project's other rivals.

`We made it clear that we support the Southern Corridor. We also made
it clear that the Nabucco pipeline is preferable strategically and
politically. It will be hard to answer whether these projects will be
complementary or competitive since the initial gas is coming from the
Caspian,' Richard Morningstar, special envoy of the United States
Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy, told a small of journalists in

The U.S. has been a strong supporter of the Nabucco pipeline project,
planned to be built from Turkey to Austria and to transport 31 billion
cubic meters of natural gas.

But there are some other projects such as Interconnector Turkey Greece
Italy, or ITGI, and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, or TAP. The ITGI is
planned with a capacity of 8 billion cubic meters and TAP with 10
billion cubic meters. The U.S. had until Friday declined to voice its
preference among the projects.

The resources in Central Asia and the Middle East are limited but with
the development of the second phase in the Shah Deniz field in
Azerbaijan, and with Iraq's participation, the gas supplies could
increase dramatically, Morningstar added on the sidelines of the Black
Sea Energy and Economic Forum in Istanbul.

The decision, however, of giving the gas to a pipeline will be a
commercial one and will be made by the Shah Deniz consortium, he said.
Morningstar ruled out the possibility of Iranian gas supplies for
Nabucco or any other Western-backed pipeline projects.

`For me, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project was a dream. Now Nabucco is a
dream. Many countries are involved in this project. ... We want to be a
helpful bystander,' Morningstar said when asked about the difference
between the BTC and Nabucco pipelines.

He rejected the notion that there was a contradiction between the
Turkish government's decisions to become involved in both the Nabucco
pipeline project and South Stream. The U.S. has no concerns regarding
the increased energy cooperation between Turkey and Russia, he also

Within energy pipeline diplomacy, there is one country that has been
left out in the cold: Armenia. Due to an illegal blockade imposed by
its neighbors, Turkey and Azerbaijan, Armenia has been excluded from
the major energy projects in the region.

`I have fond feelings regarding Armenia. That is a shame that Armenia
is not part of these projects,' Morningstar said. `If somehow an
agreement is reached, Armenia can become a full participant in the
region. And that is in everybody's interest.'

It will take time, but eventually Armenia will participate in all
regional energy and economic projects, Morningstar said when asked
about whether there is a specific project that the U.S. wants Armenia
to become involved in.

From: A. Papazian