Nabucco is about a new Europe -- adviser

Dec. 23, 2009 at 12:00 PM

BERLIN, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The Nabucco natural gas pipeline for Europe is indicative of new developments in the region amid a sea change in energy diplomacy, officials said.

Former German Foreign Minister and Princeton Professor Joschka Fischer lauded the Nabucco pipeline as a symbol of European evolution.

"Nabucco is about a new relationship," he told The New York Times from Berlin. "That is why Turkey is so important. Brussels understands this. I wish the member states did, too."

The pipeline would travel through Turkish territory north to European consumers.

Europe aims to diversify its regional energy sector with Nabucco. Russia supplies roughly one-quarter of Europe's gas, though 80 percent of that moves through Soviet-era pipelines in Ukraine. A January gas row between Moscow and Kiev left Europe in the cold for weeks.

Meanwhile, Europe expects its gas consumption to increase from 2005 levels of 17.7 trillion cubic feet per year to 28.8 trillion cubic feet by 2030, forcing the bloc to scramble for alternative gas supplies.

Fischer said that with Russian production falling, Nabucco is the answer to Europe's energy woes.

Despite political backing for the project, however, Nabucco lacks firm commitments from suppliers in Central Asia and the Middle East.

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