Sofia decouples from Nabucco

June 27, 2011 at 1:12 PM
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SOFIA, Bulgaria, June 27 (UPI) -- Bulgaria is no longer interested in linking future natural gas connections with Turkey to the Nabucco pipeline, the country's economic minister announced.

The Nabucco project consortium in Vienna aims to get some gas to fill the pipeline with non-Russian natural gas suppliers such as Azerbaijan. In May, however, it was announced that construction was delayed by one year to 2013 and gas deliveries weren't expected until 2017 because of supplier timelines.

The Bulgarian government last year said it would tie its planned Bulgaria-Turkey gas interconnection to Nabucco. However, Bulgarian Economics Minister Traicho Traikov told lawmakers that coordinating the interconnection with Nabucco would make the bilateral connection "expensive and slow," the Sofia News Agency reports.

Traikov last week said his country expects that Azerbaijan will start shipping natural gas in some form to the country by 2014. This could come from networks through Georgia, Turkey and Greece as soon as Bulgaria completes gas network interconnections.

Nabucco would extend roughly 2,000 miles through Turkish territory to Austria by crossing Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Traikov didn't indicate that interconnection plans were a direct reflection on Nabucco's prospects.

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