VIENNA, May 17 (UPI) -- The planned Nabucco West natural gas pipeline is the region's flagship project in part because of high shipper interest, an executive said from Vienna.
Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbG announced last week that it opened the registration phase of the open season to book capacity on the planned pipeline from Turkey.
Nabucco West is meant to secure natural gas supplies from the Shah Deniz II field offshore Azerbaijan for European consumers. It's part of the so-called Southern Gas Corridor, a network of pipelines meant to expand the region's natural gas options, which are dominated by Russia.
Nabucco said shipper interest has "exceeded expectations." A wide variety of shippers, including those outside the pipeline consortium and not including the BP-led group working offshore Azerbaijan, has expressed interest in the project.
"The high levels of interest clearly show the demand for the opening of the Southern Gas Corridor connecting European markets to Caspian gas, and also for Nabucco, as the flagship project of the Southern Gas Corridor," Nabucco Chief Executive Officer Reinhard Mitschek said in a statement.
Nabucco is up against the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline that would run through southern European countries along the Mediterranean Sea.
The BP-led group working on Shah Deniz is expected to choose between the two pipelines next month.