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8 May, 2009 13:45

Key nations hold off on Nabucco

Key nations hold off on Nabucco

Key gas producers, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have held off on signing a declaration on the Nabucco gas pipeline project, signed between the EU Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Egypt on Friday.

Czech Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek, current incumbent of the EU Presidency, said the Central Asian countries are ‘not comfortable’ with signing legally binding long term agreements, but all nations invited committed to diversification of supply based on market needs.

Also speaking at the Prague Energy Summit, European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said, on Friday, that participants would sign a final agreement in June.  European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barrosso, hopes Turkmenistan will join the declaration, and noted that the country is committed to energy security and diversification.

“Turkmenistan, they are stating a position that basically their policy is that they put the gas at the border, and afterwards its up to others to engage. They don’t want to assume legal obligations more than that. And we understand the point. But they are, and they’ve stated it very clearly, as committed as we are to the idea of diversification of supply, and also of energy security."

The diversification of oil and gas supplies to Europe has been a key issue at the summit, where the European Union is seeking a partnership with several former Soviet republics, most of whom are gas producers or transit states.

The Nabucco pipeline is intended to bring gas from Central Asian nations to Europe, bypassing Russia, with a route running from Azerbaijan through the Caucasus to Turkey, and then onto Europe.