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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NATO backs Nabucco in Baku

BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 10, 2009 (UPI) -- NATO pledged its support for the Nabucco natural gas pipeline to Europe and recognized the importance of Azerbaijan as a key energy supplier, officials said. "NATO realizes the importance of the Nabucco project and backs Azerbaijan," said Michael Gaul, a top economic security official at NATO. "Undoubtedly, Azerbaijan as a supplier plays a very important role." His comments came during an energy security conference organized in Baku by the Azeri Foreign Affairs Ministry. Europe sees the $10.7 billion Nabucco project as the answer to its energy diversification needs as it moves to ease its dependence on Russia as an energy supplier. Nabucco would travel some 1,900 miles from the Caspian region through Turkey to European energy markets. Gaul said energy security in the region was a top priority for NATO as energy demand increases, the Azerbaijan Business Center reports. "In the future, by 2013 our energy needs are going to increase by 50 percent and that will create additional difficulties in the area of safety and the environment," he said. Nabucco officials say signing of intergovernmental agreements is scheduled for June 25.

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