VIENNA, March 25 (UPI) -- There is no intention to alter the scheduled 2011 launch of construction for the Nabucco natural gas pipeline for Europe, directors said Thursday in Vienna.
"We are aiming to start with the construction at the end of 2011 and we'll expect first gas to flow at the end of 2014," said Nabucco consortium director Reinhard Mitschek. "The Nabucco consortium has no indication to shift the current time line."
Europe aims to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector with the Nabucco gas pipeline. A January 2009 gas row between Ukraine and Moscow exposed vulnerabilities in the regional sector as 80 percent of all Russian gas for Europe travels through Ukrainian pipelines.
Nabucco aims to transport non-Russian gas to European consumers. Despite funding and political backing for the project, supplier nations are slow to make formal commitments.
Nabucco has a designed capacity of around 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas per year. Mitschek said a staggered approach was needed to meet the gas capacity for the 2,000-mile pipeline.
"For a large pipeline system like Nabucco it is necessary to raise the capacities stepwise," he said in a news release.
Additional compressor stations would go online during project construction to push Nabucco to full gas capacity by 2018.