The European Commission has announced that it is unworried about the Nabucco pipeline project not being chosen to deliver gas to the bloc. Brussels argued the rival TAP consortium would serve the purpose just as well.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Friday that he was not worried about future natural gas supplies to the EU.
His comment came two days after a consortium of developers of a huge gas field in Azerbaijan chose the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) for deliveries to Europe instead of the Nabucco project long supported politically by the EU executive.
TAP comprises Norway's Statoil, Axpo of Switzerland and the German utility company E.ON. The pipeline will run 800 kilometers (500 miles) across northern Greece and into southern Albania before traveling under sea to Italy.
Barroso said the TAP project also served the EU's primary objective of becoming less dependent on Russian supplies.
The search goes on
"It's a milestone on the bloc's road to strengthen its energy security," Barroso commented in Brussels. His words were echoed by EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger.
"We now have a new partner for future gas deliveries, and I'm confident we'll get more supplies as a result," the commissioner argued.
The parties behind the Nabucco project, including Austria's OMV and Hungary's MOL, announced on Friday that they regretted having lost out.
"Nabucco regrets the new gas highway to Europe will not be realized for the 10 billion cubic meters (350 billion cubic feet) of gas from the Azeri gas field," the company announced in a statement. Representatives denied reports that the project was completely dead, saying that the company would look for new sources in line with the need for diversification in Europe's energy market.
hg/mkg (dpa, AFP)