Planning for Nabucco began in 2002. From the start, the pipeline was a joint European and American project aimed at undermining Russian influence over the European continent by reducing Russian energy imports.
The idea behind Nabucco was that the 1,326 km pipeline would tap into gas from the Caspian Sea, which is bounded by Iran and Azerbaijan, among others.
Nabucco, whose shareholders were: BEH of Bulgaria, BOTAS of Turkey, Hungary’s FGSZ, Austria’s OMV, Romania’s Transgaz and GDF Suez, was long favoured by the European Commission because its route passes through countries in south-eastern Europe that are reliant on Gazprom’s gas.
Originally, it was hoped that the gas would come from Iran. But Western sanctions on Tehran forced the Nabucco consortium to opt for Azerbaijan. From there, gas would be sent through Turkey and then up to Central Europe, ending in Austria.
From a technical standpoint, however, the project never got very far. In 11 years, no country could be found to be an energy supplier. Iran, Turkmenistan, Egypt and Iraq all pulled out, and Azerbaijan finally rejected the idea.
The Nabucco pipeline project, which was to have transported gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe in order to bypass Russia, has been cancelled in July 2013.
The failure of the Nabucco project was due to a combination of geopolitical factors and business considerations. The failure was also caused by the fact that it has not appeared economically viable for some time.