Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH said it called on potential steel suppliers to apply for the pre-qualification phase for the planned construction of the 820-mile, 48-inch Nabucco West pipeline.
Nabucco West is part of the Southern Corridor, a planned network of natural gas pipelines meant to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector. It would draw gas largely from the Shah Deniz offshore gas field in Azerbaijan.
Nabucco West would carry Azeri gas from the Turkish border to Hungary.
"The launch of this pre-qualification process is yet another step toward ensuring that Nabucco is ready to meet the gas delivery schedules of the Shah Deniz consortium," the group said from Vienna.
Last week, the consortium said it chose Italian contractor Saipem to start engineering design work for the pipeline.
The project is up against the planned Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to secure gas from the BP-led consortium working offshore Azerbaijan. A decision is expected by June.
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