European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs expressed hope that Europe and Turkey would reach a deal in January, 2009 on transit terms to make the planned Nabucco gas pipeline a reality, Turkish media reported.
Piebalgs, who held talks in Ankara with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and Energy Minister Hilmi Guler, said there was no disagreement over transit fees, but that Turkey was concerned about its own energy supplies.
Turkey wants to divert 15 percent of Nabuccoâ€™s gas for cheap domestic use.
As Azerbaijan is insisting on selling its gas at European market rates minus transit costs, the Nabucco consortium and its subsidiaries in Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Austria would be left to pick up the tab.
The Nabucco pipeline, which will be one-third financed by the owners, and two-thirds by banks, is meant to diversify and lessen Europeâ€™s dependence on Russian gas from 2013.
The project requires two million tonnes of steel, 200,000 pipes and more than 30 compressor units.
The pipeline consortium – Nabucco Gas Pipeline International Ltd. is equally owned (16.67% each) by Austriaâ€™s OMV, Hungaryâ€™s MOL, Turkeyâ€™s Botas, Bulgariaâ€™s Bulgargaz and Romaniaâ€™s Transgaz and Germanyâ€™s RWE.
Named after the Babylonian king in the eponymous opera by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, the pipeline will take 31 billion cubic meters of gas each year from the Middle East to Europe from 2012 at the earliest. It is likely to deliver the first gas to Europe in 2013.