ISTANBUL, Turkey, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Political support for the planned Nabucco natural gas pipeline remains strong though at least one U.S. analyst said from Turkey the project is "dead."
International delegates gathered last week at a Black Sea energy conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Richard Morningstar, the U.S. envoy for Eurasian energy, was forced to clarify his stance on Nabucco before the meeting when his earlier comments in Azerbaijan were taken as a sign Washington was moving away from the pipeline.
"Nabucco continues to be a highly desirable political and strategic option," Morningstar said in a statement.
European officials have expressed similar sentiment and Christian Dolezal, a spokesman for the pipeline consortium, was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying there's "no reason" why the $10.6 billion project won't succeed.
Nabucco is part of Europe's so-called Southern Corridor, a network of planned pipelines that would move non-Russian gas supplies to the eurozone.
Azerbaijan is expected to pick a pipeline that would host natural gas from its Shah Deniz project but there's not enough gas there to fill Nabucco. Azeri Energy Minister Natig Aliyev was quoted as saying the pipeline's "time will come."
The project has faced economic obstacles and hasn't gotten the firm commitments from potential natural gas suppliers to allay its critics, however.
"Nabucco, I think, commercially is a buried product," said Borut Grgic, an energy analyst at the Atlantic Council. "It's dead."