The signing ceremony for the intergovernmental agreement to build the Nabucco gas pipeline will be a high-profile event, gathering the prime ministers of several countries on 13 July in Ankara, EurActiv Turkey reported today (9 July).
Ankara has been working hard to host the Nabucco summit next Monday, when the inter-governmental agreement to build the gas pipeline will be signed.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, sent invitations to the leaders of all major transit and neighbouring countries. Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnaj and Austrian Chancellor Weyner Fayman have already confirmed that they will attend the ceremony.
EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will also attend, and there will also be representatives from the USA, it has been announced.
The press in Azerbaijan reported that the country has also been invited to the event.
According to the summit programme, the leaders will gather for a dinner after the signing ceremony. They will then have opportunities for bilateral meetings.
'Project of national importance' to Bulgaria
Initially depicted as a US-sponsored initiative, Nabucco was subsequently transformed into a priority EU project aimed at decreasing Europe's dependency on Russian gas.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, who recently lost national elections to Sofia Mayor Boyko Borissov, will attend the ceremony on behalf of his country after the two men held discussions, according to reports in the Bulgarian press.
As reported by Dnevnik, EurActiv's partner in Bulgaria, one of the last decisions of the outgoing government will be to give Nabucco the status of "project of national importance". The status is expected to greatly facilitate property transformation of land and help to obtain construction permits.
Not enough gas committed
But Necdet Pamir, board member at the World Energy Council's Turkish National Committee told EurActiv Turkey that transit countries will only make a "principle commitment" at the summit. The inter-governmental agreement will not include many details, he added.
"After the singing ceremony, it will not be possible to say 'Nabucco is done'," Pamir said, adding that signing the agreement is a good move but that further steps are needed.
Stressing that not enough gas had been committed to fill the Nabucco pipe for the time being, Pamir said Turkey's main objective was to reduce its dependence on Russian sources by acquring eight billion cubic metres more Azeri gas.
"On the other hand, Europe wants Turkey not to use gas from Nabucco and just be a transit country," he says. Pamir said that he expected Turkey would be under pressure on this issue at the summit.
- 13 July: Signature of inter-governmental agreement.
- By end 2009: Nabucco consortium plans to begin to realise engineering operations, including commissions for pipes and compressor stations.
- 2011: Actual construction begins.
- 2012: Suppliers are determined.
- 2014: Pipeline becomes operational.