May 10, 2008
The EU is keen to secure gas supplies for its flagship Nabucco pipeline from countries in the Mashreq region, which includes Iraq, Jordan and Syria. Meanwhile Russia’s participation in Nabucco, which skirts Russian territory, has effectively been ruled out.EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner yesterday (5 May) met with representatives from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to discuss gas pipeline linkages.While no specific deals were reached in the Mashreq talks, the EU is hoping to link up its gas grid with the Arab Gas Pipeline, which currently brings 10 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas from Egypt through Jordan to Syria. The Arab Gas Pipeline is set to be linked up to the Turkish gas grid by 2009, and later with the Nabucco pipeline, which is scheduled for completion by 2013. A total of 7 BCM of gas could then be sourced annually from Mashreq countries, according to the Commission.The discussions are part of EU efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian gas supplies, and follow hot on the heels of separate talks to secure gas provision from Iraq and Turkmenistan. Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy monopoly, currently supplies up to 40% of the EU’s natural gas demand, but that figure is set to reach 60% by 2030.
Russia has also been active in maintaining its dominant position, notably by securing a deal on the South Stream gas pipeline, considered by some to be a rival to the Nabucco project.Russia “has shown no interest” in feeding its gas into Nabucco, Piebalgs told journalists in Brussels on 5 May. “We should not ask Russia to join a project which they have never shown interest to join”, he said, adding that “diversity” is key for securing the EU’s energy supply.Piebalgs comments were made the day after the commissioner visited Moscow for discussions on better EU-Russia energy cooperation in advance of an 8 June meeting of G8 energy ministers in Japan.While no agreements were made during the talks, the two sides discussed Russia’s participation in an International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) and the possibility of inter-connecting the EU and
Russia’s electricity grids.
From EurActivAuthor : EMI