(Corrects feet to metres in paragraph 5; clarifies in 1st paragraph that half the project output could supply Nabucco pipeline)
May 17 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates' Crescent petroleum, and Austria's OMV OMV.VI and Hungary's MOL MOLB.BU, have formed a consortium to pump over 3 billion cubic feet per day of gas from Iraq's Kurdistan region, about half of which could go via the Nabucco pipeline project to supply Europe. [ID:nLH614910]
The Nabucco pipeline aims to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian gas. A spat in January between Russia and gas transit country Ukraine left European customers without supply for two weeks in the dead of winter gave added urgency to the project. Here are some key facts about the project.
PROJECT TIMELINE AND DESCRIPTION: - The Nabucco pipeline is a 7.9 billion euro ($10.69 billion) project to transport gas from Turkey to Austria through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.
- Construction of the 3,300-km (2,050 mile) pipeline is scheduled to start in 2011 and first deliveries are expected in 2014 with an initial annual capacity of 8-10 bcm. [ID:nLD623772]
- According to market studies the pipeline has been designed to transport a maximum of 31 billion cubic metres of gas annually.
- Talks of the project first took place in February 2002 between OMV Gas and BOTAS, MOL of Hungary, Transgaz of Romania and Bulgargaz EAD of Bulgaria.
- In 2002 the five parties signed a protocol of their intention to jointly construct a new gas pipeline connecting the significant Middle East, Egyptian and Caspian gas reserves with Austria and even further into Europe through a new gas pipeline crossing Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.
- In October 2002 the parties involved commissioned a feasibility study for the construction of the new gas pipeline.
- In December 2003 the European Commission awarded a grant amounting to about 50 percent of the cost to conduct the feasibility study which included market analysis, technical, economic and financial studies.
- In 2004 the feasibility study was completed. The results indicated that the project was technically and economically feasible.
- In 2005 the Nabucco partners moved ahead with the project, launching into the Development Phase.
- In 2006 the project partners took on a short term adviser to assist in tendering process of the engineering and development phase of the project.
- In June 2005 the joint-venture agreement was signed. The agreement laid out the rules of the Nabucco pipeline project.
- RWE AG (RWEG.DE) becomes the sixth shareholder in February 2008. The consortium said it was open to a seventh shareholder if it further strengthens the project. (Sources: www.nabucco-pipeline.com)