I decided the other week, to really focus on professional posts on this blog. As my father mentioned in my last post about Nabucco, if I swear then people won’t take me seriously. Absolutely true. 😉 But then should we always treat the world of energy so seriously? For me it is a such a great topic. Multiple perspectives offer greater insight.
Thus, when I read on Natural Gas Europe that Nabucco was changing size, my professional restraint went out the window.
A new proposal, would see a pipeline between Bulgaria and Austria with a reduced capacity approximately half of what was originally planned. The consortium however, is still maintaining the viability of the original plan. “We are in the process to calculate several scenarios, including different sizes in terms of capacity and length of the pipeline. However, our preferred scenario still is the base-case and no final decisions have been made, yet,” said Christian Dolezal, spokesman for the Nabucco consortium.
But a shorter and smaller Nabucco? Is it really the big Nabucco that we know? The one that was so attractive to so many people, the pipeline extending from the Caucasus all the way to Austria? Well, no not really. It is another pipeline plan that relies on the Turkish infrastructure (or the jumble of other pipelines that have to be sorted out) and is aimed at the short to medium term for meeting Europe’s demands. The substantial changes to the project, while retaining the Nabucco name, requires a bit of teasing to call the consortium out on their obvious gutting of the project.
The new market reality (for the short and medium term) may demonstrate that a smaller pipeline can get Europe by for some years to come. The recent cold winter and high gas demand has shown, even when Russia reduces delivers, the sizable storage facilities and greater interconnection (compared to 2009) in Europe provide an effective buffer. Southern Europe (particularly Italy), which was hit hardest in the past few weeks from reduced Russian deliveries, may benefit from Azeri gas being delivered through TAP or SEEP, now that ITGI could be out of the picture. So maybe this is the future of European gas: storage, continued reliance on Russian gas with some diversity for South East Europe and Italy. South Stream has never looked better.
As for a shorter and smaller Nabucco, it didn’t come to me right away, but then I thought… isn’t there a song about this? No, no, not the opera one…. something more modern. And well, yes there is. The teasing element for the Nabucco consortium, for the switch, needs to be expressed in song – straight from ‘bad taste hits’. And I think this song better describes the new Nabucco pipeline than the opera (I’ve posted the censored version to maintain my professionalism). And just maybe Nabucco needs a new name, the short, short man pipeline (SSMP). Meet the new Nabucco Man: