Turkey, EU say agree Nabucco pipeline needed

"If we are faced with a situation where the energy chapter is blocked, we would of course review our position," Erdogan said ealier in the day.

Turkey, EU say agree Nabucco pipeline needed

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday the EU and Turkey agreed on the need for the Nabucco pipeline that would bring gas to the EU via Turkey.

"We agreed for the need for this pipleline," Barroso said after talks with Erdogan, who earlier on Monday threatened to review support for the project over EU member Cyprus's veto of the energy portion of Turkey's EU accession talks.

Erdogan said at a news conference with Barroso, regarding the Nabucco project: "We give full support all the time."

Erdogan said earlier in the day that Turkey would review its support for the Nabucco gas pipeline to Europe if the energy portion of its EU accession talks remains blocked.

He also raised doubts about the economic viability of the $12 billion project, which is seen as one of Europe's best hopes for limiting its dependence on Russian gas.

The European Union has stepped up efforts to diversify its energy sources since Russia's invasion of Georgia last summer and amid a dispute between Moscow and Kiev that has curtailed supplies across Ukraine to Europe.

The EU is backing the Nabucco pipeline, which will one day carry 30 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Caspian or Middle Eastern gas annually to an Austrian hub via Turkey.

"If we are faced with a situation where the energy chapter is blocked, we would of course review our position," Erdogan told a conference in Brussels when asked if his country would block the project if energy talks with the EU were not opened.

Diplomats say Cyprus has been blocking the opening of talks in the energy area because of a row with Turkey on gas exploration at sea. Energy is one of the 35 areas, or so-called chapters, in Turkey's accession talks.

Erdogan questioned whether there was available gas to justify the Nabucco project, which enters Europe via Turkey.

"The information is that the countries that say that they will provide sufficient amounts of natural gas do not have enough natural gas to provide," he said.

"In the Nabucco project there needs to 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas flowing, but it's not there."

Analysts say only 3 bcm has been sourced for the pipeline, compared to a bare minimum of 15 bcm needed to get it started.

Iran remains a potential source of gas for Nabucco, and Erdogan criticised those countries that oppose taking Iranian gas for political reasons.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou told Reuters in an interview last month his country would not agree to let talks on energy start until an oil exploration dispute was resolved.

Turkey has said Cyprus' oil exploration could upset reunification efforts because natural resources should belong to all residents of the island -- Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Reuters
Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2009, 17:15
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