BRUSSELS, July 15 (UPI) -- The Nabucco gas pipeline to Europe will create competition in the regional energy sector to the benefit of all consumers, the EU energy commissioner says.
Ankara hosted regional delegates and supporters of the $10.3 billion Nabucco pipeline to Europe, with host nations signing a major intergovernmental agreement on the project Monday.
The project faces addition hurdles beyond political commitments in terms of project financing and secure gas commitments.
Azerbaijan is seen as a key source of gas for the project, while Iran and even Russia have emerged as potential players. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs notes on his Web site that Iraq, which came forward earlier this week with a generous gas offer, could be a supplier as well.
Piebalgs says that despite Nabucco securing only 5 percent of the gas for European customers, it would create competition in a market dominated by Russia.
He notes that while Russian energy giant Gazprom will not be sidelined from the European gas market with Nabucco, the competition the pipeline will create in the regional energy sector will be beneficial.
"Once you have a competitor, you take more interest in your customers," he notes.