Italian energy giant head: "For energy supply security, Turkey is already a key EU member"
Turkey's role in the Nabucco pipeline project is not the role of a simple transit country, Reinhard Mitschek, the head of the six-country Nabucco project consortium, yesterday told the second Black Sea Energy and Economy Forum held by the Atlantic Council in Istanbul. "Nabucco is a €7.9 billion project, and nearly €4 billion of this will be spent to build the Turkey leg of the project," he said, adding that they would work closely with Turkish companies and benefit from their experience, know-how, and infrastructure. Stating that Nabucco, along with the northern Iraqi Shah Deniz project, would create jobs in Turkey, he said they would need Turkish companies in such areas as industry, consulting, engineering and communications. Gas supplies to Nabucco could increase in the years to come in line with rising energy demands, he said, adding that they expect large amounts of gas supplies from Azerbaijan and northern Iraq. New sub-routes could be incorporated into Nabucco, which will extend from Baku to Milan, he said. Arguing that 31 billion cubic meters of natural gas, Nabucco's planned annual maximum capacity, won't be enough to meet future demands, he said shareholder countries in the project had asked the European Commission to give the go-ahead to boost this capacity. Touching on the security of energy supplies, Mitschek said their strategy is to ensure that Central Asia and Middle East natural gas are transported to Europe together, as well as to maintain transportation lines and ensure liquidity of the energy market. Admitting that multi-country projects always have complex structures, Mitschek said that Nabucco is making good progress as promised, and that there are no large obstacles before it. Speaking at the same meeting, Paolo Scaroni, the head of Italian energy giant ENI, stressed the importance of Turkey for European energy supply security. Stating that Turkey is located at the intersection of key energy routes, Paolo said, "Here is an energy transit region. Decisions taken here will affect all of Europe. In the future, the Black Sea region will have a more important role in the diversification of energy supplies. All energy-related projects in this region demonstrate Turkey's importance for the security of European energy supplies." Turkey is not a European Union member right now but in terms of energy supply security, it is already one of the EU's most important members, he added.