Russia's energy tsar Igor Sechin said on Friday the project of Nabucco gas pipeline, designed to pump natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe bypassing Russia, had no future.
"Given the estimates of the Turkmen side, as well as European and international experts, the current market situation on the gas track allows us to say and I say so without sarcasm that there are no prospects for Nabucco," the deputy prime minister told reporters.
The Nabucco project, supposed to pump gas from the Caspian region to European countries via Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Austria, is a key element of western strategy to cut Europe's dependence on Russian energy supplies. The 7.9-billion euro pipeline is expected to have an annual capacity of 31 billion cubic meters of gas, or no more than five percent of Europe's gas consumption in 2020.
"There are no real prospects of increasing volumes, which makes the Nabucco project irrelevant. This can be forgotten until a certain moment of economic growth," Sechin said.
Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of the Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH., said last week that the consortium expected to begin the construction of the pipeline in 2012 and to launch it in 2015. Project participants expect significant volumes of gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iraq to fill the pipeline, he added.
Sechin said the Russian-backed Northern Stream pipeline would be launched by that time and the South Stream pipeline would also be developed.
He added that the South Stream "will take precedence over the terms, sources of supply".
"The conclusion is: Nabucco has no future," Sechin said.