An international consortium developing Azerbaijan's Caspian natural gas sector reportedly has agreed in principle to acquire 50 percent of the company operating the Nabucco pipeline.
Bulgarian Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev told a meeting of Nabucco shareholders in Sofia on January 10 that the acquisition would be finalized in Vienna on January 18.
He said the Shah Deniz partners -- BP, Statoil, Total, and SOCAR -- would contribute to pipeline construction costs in exchange for a 50 percent stake.
But a Nabucco spokesman says there is still "a lot to negotiate" before the agreement is signed.
The deal would breathe new life into the stalled project, which aims to ship Caspian natural gas across Turkey and Bulgaria to Austria by 2018.
The European Union-backed project would reduce Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas.
Based on reporting by bloomberg.com and AP