GDF Suez SA, a French utilities provider, agreed to buy a 9 percent stake in Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH from OMV AG, a project that seeks to ship Caspian gas to Europe.
GDF Suez bought part of OMV’s stake for an undisclosed sum, adding a sixth partner to the pipeline project, Vienna-based OMV, central Europe’s biggest oil company, said today in a statement. The pipeline aims to bring as much as 31 billion cubic meters (1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas a year to Austria via Turkey and southeastern Europe by 2017.
“Having GDF Suez as new partner for Nabucco West is another milestone for the project,” Gerhard Roiss, OMV’s chief executive officer said according to the statement. “It proves that we are on the right way to provide Europe with more gas and to secure new sources of gas for the future.”
The Nabucco pipeline, a venture that also includes partner companies from Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary and Romania, was originally planned to cost 7.9 billion euros ($10 billion) for a length of 3,900 kilometers (2,400 miles). The scope of the project has shrunk to 1,315 kilometers, named Nabucco West, the company said in November without specifying a revised cost.
Nabucco West is competing with the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, known as TAP, for rights to export gas from the Shah Deniz field, which may hold 1.2 trillion cubic meters of fuel in Azerbaijan’s part of the Caspian Sea. The European Union wants to diversify supplies away from Russia, which provides a quarter of its natural gas.
“With this strengthened pan-European partnership we are looking forward to the upcoming decision of the Shah Deniz II consortium concerning their preferred delivery route to Europe,” said Roiss.