VIENNA, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Existing plans for the Nabucco natural gas pipeline for Europe make the best proposition to diversify the regional energy sector, an official said.
Europe is looking for ways to break the Russian grip on the natural gas sector by pursuing a series of pipelines for the so-called Southern Corridor. Of those, Nabucco is the most ambitious though its $10 billion price tag and lack of firm supplier commitments is causing critics to emerge.
The Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the situation," reports that plans for Nabucco are scaled down. Similar sentiments surfaced after Ankara announced plans to move ahead with the alternate Trans-Anatolia gas pipeline through its territory.
Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International, in a statement, said his company was looking at "different scenarios" to find the best solution for its customers. He said he can't comment on media speculation regarding the pipeline but felt Nabucco was the best option available.
"The Nabucco pipeline project remains the most solid proposition to bolster both Turkey's and European countries' diversification of supply," he said.
Turkish officials last week were quoted in the Anadolu news agency as saying Nabucco was still valid because European demands for natural gas won't be met even if all projects in the Southern Corridor eventually come on stream.