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EU Signs Deal To Back Nabucco Pipeline

A gas field in Iran (file photo) (Fars) June 27, 2006 -- The European Commission and representatives of Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Austria have backed the building of a pipeline to transport Caspian and Middle East gas to the European Union.

A joint declaration supporting the Nabucco pipeline was agreed June 26 in Vienna, Austria.

The planned 3,300-kilometer pipeline is part of EU moves to diversify its energy supplies after gas supplies from Russia were briefly interrupted during a pricing row between Russia and Ukraine at the start of this year. Russia supplies about one-quarter of Europe's gas.

The pipeline is expected to cost 4.6 billion euros ($5.8 billion), and reports said construction is expected to start in 2008, with the first gas flowing in 2011. Plans call for the pipeline to eventually transport about 30 billion cubic meters of gas from the Caspian region to Central Europe per year.

(compiled from agency reports)

Caspian Energy Special

Caspian Energy Special

For a complete archive of RFE/RL's coverage of energy issues in the Caspian Sea region and Russia, click here.

HOW MUCH OIL? The U.S. Energy Information Administration has estimated that the Caspian could hold between 17 billion and 33 billion barrels of proven oil. ("Proven reserves" are defined by energy experts to be 90 percent probable.) Other experts estimate the Caspian could hold "possible reserves" of up to 233 billion barrels of oil. ("Possible reserves" are considered to be 50 percent probable.) By comparison, Saudi Arabia has 261 billion barrels of oil and the United States 23 billion...(more)

See also:

Economic Forecast For 2006 Sees Growth, But Danger In Continued High Oil Prices

How Vast Are The Riches In The Caspian?

Experts Envision A Future Beyond Oil