Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another blow for Nabucco

The Nabucco gas pipeline suffered anther blow this week when Gazprom held talks with Romania, apparently offering to run its proposed South Stream project through Romania instead of Bulgaria. Romania was, up until now, the last member of the Western-backed Nabucco pipeline to not be in talks with or have already made agreements with Russia's state energy giant Gazprom with regards to its South Stream project, which is in direct competition with the planned Nabucco pipeline. Romanian officials have apparently concluded that, given Nabucco's dimming prospects after the South Ossetian war (Nabucco would receive gas from the upstream BTE pipeline, which runs through Georgia), it's time to consider hedging their bets with their ex-overlords. This is in stark contrast to the picture before the August war, when back in March the Jamestown Institute was predicting that Romania, though it didn't have veto power over the project, could use its position in the Black Sea to delay South Stream.

Meanwhile, Hungary – which seems to be Nabucco's biggest advocate these days – is flailing its arms, trying to the West to reconsider Iranian gas to fill the Nabucco pipeline. (Iran, the decreasingly-independent republics of the South Caucasus, and Russia are the only land routes into Europe from the gas-rich Capsian region.) But there's little chance of that happening, and Iran seems to have taken the West's rejection personally, and has publicly sworn off the involvement in Nabucco that it never actually had in the first place.

For full coverage of Nabucco's precipitously declining fortunes, check my Nabucco archives.

No comments: