EC: exemption for Austrian section Nabucco pipeline
Commission approves regulatory regime for the Austrian section of the Nabucco gas pipeline
Brussels, Belgium – The Commission has approved, Friday 2008-02-08, an exemption of the Austrian section of the Nabucco natural gas pipeline from regulated third party access in line with EU legislation. However, it has requested the Austrian energy regulator to include additional safeguards regarding future capacity allocation, in order to ensure that the planned pipeline will have a positive effect on competition.
"The Commission decision on Nabucco shows our support for this project, which will boost Europe’s efforts to diversify our supply sources and our gas supply routes. The project is important not only for the countries involved but will also contribute to strengthening competition and promoting security in gas supply for the European Union as a whole”, said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The Nabucco company has applied for exemption from the general rule of regulated third party access in all four Member States concerned – Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria. Such exemptions are provided for in EU legislation and allow major new infrastructure projects to determine capacity allocation and transport tariffs more freely. The safeguards to which the exemption is subject include a capacity cap preventing a dominant undertaking from booking more than half of the Nabucco exit capacity in Austria and rules to ensure a transparent and non-discriminatory capacity allocation to third parties.
The Nabucco project consists of a 3,300 kilometre pipeline, with a planned maximum capacity of 31 billion cubic meters per year. It will help ensure the provision of gas to Europe from producers in the Middle East and Caspian region. The pipeline will cross Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and will end in Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria. Works are expected to begin in 2009 and should be completed in 2012. The Nabucco project is included in the EU Trans-European Energy Network programme, while the European Council of March 2007 identified as one of the priority projects that will benefit from a coordinator (see IP/07/1338 and SPEECH/07/531 ).
 Article 22 of Gas Directive 2003/55/EC