Czech eyes Azeri Gas, Bulgaria seeks Nabucco Revival
The Czech Republic says it is keen to sign a long-term contract to receive Azerbaijan’s gas while at the same time, Bulgaria eyes the revival of the Nabucco pipeline project.
Jan Mladek, the Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, said on March 3rd in Baku that for realization of this contract, the construction of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) is “very important.”
The Czech Republic is almost fully dependent on imports of natural gas and heavenly relies on Russian gas. In additional to the Ukraine route, this country is able to import Russian gas through Nord Stream, Opal and Gazela (Gazelle) pipelines.
Azerbaijan also accounted for about one third of this Central Europe country’s oil import in 2014.
Mladek added that “taking into account the failure of Nabucco and South Stream pipeline projects and regarding this fact that the implementation of the Turkish Stream project will take quite some time, currently, TANAP is the most real project in this sphere”.
In late June 2013 the consortium of the Azeri Shah Deniz field development selected the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as the gas transportation route to the European markets, defeating a proposal of the Nabucco-West pipeline project. Nabucco-West was itself is a modification of the original Nabucco Pipeline project, which was to run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten hub in Austria.
TAP is designed to transport gas from the Caspian region via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and then to Western Europe. The Nabucco-West was designed to transfer Caspian gas through Turkish-Bulgarian border to Austria.
A Revival of the (Soap) Opera?
Hopes for revival of Nabucco-West still remain with the Bulgarian Prime Minister called for a revival of the project.
Boyko Borisov said during a meeting with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Sofia on March 4 that “we want Nabucco pipeline project to be unfrozen and more precisely – its part through Bulgaria”.
Responding to Borisov’s statement, Aliyev said that Bulgaria could build an interconnector with Greece to draw gas from the TAP route, which could then be sent on to Romania and Hungary.
Borisov also said last December that “the cancellation of Russia’s South Stream pipeline makes the restoration of the Nabucco-West pipeline project a reality”.
For Bulgaria, its hopes to benefit from gas supply and transit fees have been lost in the cancellation of Nabucco and of the South Stream project designed to deliver Russian gas to European markets bypassing the Ukrainian transit system.