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Ankara delays Nabucco signing to July

ANKARA, Turkey, June 11 (UPI) -- Signing of intergovernmental agreements on the Nabucco natural gas pipeline to Europe could be pushed back to July on domestic supply concerns, Ankara says.

Suppliers, hosts and other parties to the Nabucco gas pipeline emerged from a May summit on the project with declarations of support, calling for a signing on intergovernmental meetings by June.

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European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told reporters Monday during a meeting in Romania that "we are close" to agreements on the pipeline, but pushed the date into "early July."

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz backed the July date, saying his country had not seen provisions related to demands of discounted prices for 15 percent of the gas transiting through the 2,050-mile pipeline, Turkish daily Hurriyet reports.

Europe sees the $10.7 billion project as the answer to its push away from Russian energy dependency. Nabucco would travel across Turkish territory before turning north to European markets.

The project faces criticism over the lack of secure commitments from major Caspian suppliers. Only Azerbaijan committed to final documents on the project during the May summit.

The Western-backed Nabucco is at the center of diplomatic rows in the regional energy sector. With Europe pushing hard for energy diversity, Russia is lobbying potential hosts for its Nord Stream gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea to Germany and its South Stream project for southeast Europe.

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