ANKARA, Turkey, March 22 (UPI) -- A decision to link the broader Nabucco natural gas pipeline to a Turkish counterpart is expected by next year, a managing director said from Ankara.
Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International, said from Turkey his company expects to make a decision on linking up to the Trans-Anatolia Pipeline by 2013.
"The point of no return is a final investment decision … that will most likely be next year," Mitschek told Bloomberg News. "That is something we're working on in a very concentrated and focused form within the Nabucco group, with Shah Deniz partners and others."
The Trans-Anatolia Pipeline, known also as TANAP, is a project envisioned by Turkish energy company Botas and the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic to transport natural gas to southern Europe. Nabucco could carry gas from suppliers in the Caspian region, notably those in the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan, to southern Europe by 2017.
Ankara had said TANAP is backed by a supply guarantee. Nabucco has faced questions over its $10.5 billion price and the lack of firm supplier commitments.
A smaller version of the planned 2,400-mile pipeline, dubbed Nabucco West, would travel from the Turkish border to Austria, about half of what's expected for the entire project.