VIENNA, May 13 (UPI) -- Engineering and planning for the heralded Nabucco pipeline reached a high point as the consortium managing the project announced local route plans.
Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH announced British consulting company Penspen is coordinating planning efforts for five local front-end engineering and design firms for Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
"These local firms are currently evaluating and investigating all technical details of the entire pipeline route to realize the necessary detailed planning," said Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of Nabucco.
The results of their efforts will lay the groundwork for official approval from potential gas suppliers to the $10.7 billion project.
Nabucco would bring natural gas from Central Asian and Middle Eastern suppliers along a route through Turkey north to European markets. Europe sees the project as the answer to its push toward energy diversification and away from dependency on Russia.
Regional leaders attended a summit in Prague, Czech Republic, on Friday for the Southern Corridor of energy transit networks, securing Nabucco as a top priority.
Turkey and the European Union are expected to reach agreements on the 2,051-mile pipeline in June.