VIENNA, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The consortium backing the Nabucco West natural gas pipeline for Europe said it reached an in-principle agreement on project funding with potential investors.
Nabucco Gas Pipeline International Gmbh, its shareholders and potential investors agreed on "joint funding of the development costs of the Nabucco West up to the pipeline selection decision for Shah Deniz's European export route," the consortium announced.
The project consortium added that it reached an in-principle agreement for alignment with the Shah Deniz II natural gas project in the Azeri waters of the Caspian Sea.
The group said it would grant potential investors in the pipeline a 50 percent equity option to participate as shareholders "following a positive pipeline selection decision by the Shah Deniz consortium in favor of Nabucco West."
British energy company BP, alongside the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic and its European counterparts, leads a consortium developing Shah Deniz.
SOCAR President Rovnaq Abdullayev said Shah Deniz II should start delivering natural gas to European consumers by the end of 2017 after final investment decisions are made.
The Nabucco pipeline group said it expected the BP-led consortium to make its decision on pipeline options for Shah Deniz II by June 30.
Nabucco West, a 48-inch, 807-mile pipeline through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, is up against the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to secure natural gas from Azerbaijan.