VIENNA, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The group planning the Nabucco West natural gas pipeline said it signed a deal with Saipem to perform front end engineering and design work for the project.
"Saipem has been selected as the appropriate provider of these services based on a competitive tender process launched in September 2012," said Nabucco Gas Pipeline International. "The contract includes all FEED activities for the 48-inch diameter, 823-mile pipeline system."
Nabucco West, a scaled down version of an original concept, is part of the Southern Corridor of natural gas pipelines meant to diversify a European energy sector that's dependent on Russia. The project company stated that Nabucco West is "ideally placed" to break the Russian grip on the energy sector for an estimated 500 million customers.
Nabucco shareholders this month signed an equity option with counterparts working in the Shah Deniz natural gas field offshore Azerbaijan. Nabucco West would carry Azeri gas from the Turkish border to Hungary.
The BP-led group working in Azerbaijan is expected to choose in June between Nabucco West and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, a rival project led by Switzerland energy company Axpo, Norway's Statoil and German company E.ON.