ANKARA, Turkey, May 29 (UPI) -- Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said his country would increase its efforts to implement the Nabucco gas pipeline project by at least 2013.
"Our efforts regarding the Nabucco project continue in a speedy way; we took important steps recently and our discussions continue with the other partners," Guler said.
Turkish and Austrian officials met last week to discuss the 2,050-mile pipeline. Turkish officials also discussed the matter with the German gas company RWE, the Turkish daily Hurriyet said Thursday.
The $5.8 billion Nabucco project will carry 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Turkey to Austria through Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
Supply concerns and soaring costs, however, are seen as some of the most challenging aspects of the project. Guler also said any discussions concerning partnering with Russia on the deal would require detailed discussions, as the project aims to ease European reliance on Russian energy.
"Our talks are going on. I will meet Russian Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko, and we will definitely discuss energy issues," Guler said.
He also said his ministry planned to launch a project in the Black Sea by 2009.