Page last updated at 07:25 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 08:25 UK

Media ponder 'energy chess game'

From left: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, prime ministers Gordon Bajnai (Hungary), Werner Faymann (Austria), Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey), Sergei Stanishev (Bulgaria), Emil Boc (Romania)

Turkish writers were pleased about the Nabucco gas pipeline deal signed by Turkey, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania on Monday in Ankara. They saw it as placing their country in an excellent position strategically, particularly with regard to Europe.

Proposed route of Nabucco gas pipeline
Proposed route of Nabucco gas pipeline

But a commentator in one Turkish paper, as well as writers in several Romanian dailies, wanted to know from where the gas for the pipeline would come. This point was also not lost on Iran's hard-line daily Hezbollah, which believes Europe will have to approach Iran.

Further east, commentators wondered whether Russia's rival pipeline project, South Stream, would now be scrapped.

SAMI KOHEN IN TURKEY'S MILLIYET

The inter-governmental agreement on Nabucco that was signed in Ankara yesterday deals a new "strategic card" to Turkey... through this project Turkey once again shows that it acts as a bridge between the East and West... This strengthens Turkey's hand in international relations, particularly regarding Europe.

ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA IN TURKEY'S AKSAM

If the Nabucco project is realised and the gas to be carried by this pipeline can be found, our country will further strengthen its "strategic importance" in the eyes of the West. This "new move" by the European Union and US against Russia in the "energy chess game" will bring very important developments politically in terms of the Middle East and Caucasus.

FATIH ALTAYLI IN TURKEY'S HABERTURK

A big pipeline is being built in order to reduce Europe's dependency on Russian gas. But it is not clear who will provide gas for this pipeline. Iran has gas, but the US has prevented Tehran from joining Nabucco. Russia does not permit the countries in its backyard to participate. In the current situation, it seems that only half of the capacity of the pipeline will be used.

IRAN'S HEZBOLLAH

Many experts believe that the gas sources of Central Asia, the Caucasus and even Iraq are not enough to fulfil the demands of the European countries and Turkey for a year, and that sooner or later they must use Iran's gas sources. That's why the Turkish prime minister emphasised Iran's presence during the signing ceremony.

IRAN'S HAMSHAHRI

Why should the situation be such that the head of a country, which is merely on the gas pipeline route, is at the focal point of the project; managing and hosting the contract and more importantly, feeling sorry for the second largest holder of gas reserves of the world, i.e. Iran and talking about lobbying to include Iran?

RAZVAN CIUBOTARU IN ROMANIA'S COTIDIANUL

Politically, the deal is an indisputable success. However, beyond the jubilation of a good start, the Ankara deal is still only just on paper and does not eliminate the competition represented by the rival South Stream plan initiated by Russia.

ELIZA FRANCU IN ROMANIA'S GANDUL

Russia controls all the resources in the region - not only its own but also those of its former satellite states. Or, when it does not have this control, it has the money to buy it. By overpaying for Azeri gas, Russia left this project without any supplier.

FLORENTINA CIOACA IN ROMANIA'S ADEVARUL

The fact that Nabucco project is a priority for the European Union does not solve the main problem: the lack of gas supply.

UKRAINE'S GAZETA PO-KIYEVSKI

It is all too obvious that Europe and Asia want an end to threats with the "gas club". What can you expect? Moscow should not have displayed it so insistently.

UKRAINE'S EKONOMICHESKIYE IZVESTIYA

Observers suggest that Azerbaijan will blackmail Europe with gas sales to Russia, and Russia with co-operation with Europe.

UKRAINE'S DELO

There is still a high likelihood that Russia, which is not interested in alternative supplies, will have an influence on Turkmenistan's decision to co-operate with Nabucco.

AZERBAIJANI'S ZERKALO

Moscow's attempts to hinder the implementation of this project... have failed. Baku expressing its readiness to participate in the Nabucco project, and also Turkmenistan's statement that it is ready to consider this project as a way to diversify supply routes for its gas, can be viewed as the failure of Moscow's plans to hinder the construction of this gas pipeline.

AZERBAIJAN'S YENI MUSAVAT

The signing ceremony in Ankara can be viewed as the start of a new stage in the years-long geostrategic struggle for Caspian energy.

COMMENTARY ON BELARUSIAN RADIO

The latest major foreign policy failure - and the re-orientation of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan towards Nabucco cannot be described in any other way - is entirely due to the short-sightedness of the Russian gas monopolist, which aims only at making immediate profits.

RUSSIA'S VEDOMOSTI

In the game between Nabucco and South Stream, the EU team has gone forward into the next round. The state of play might still change, but Gazprom's goals seem less realistic than those of the European Union.

MIKHAIL ZYGAR IN RUSSIA'S KOMMERSANT

The US and Europe believe that the signing of the agreement will force Russia to give up South Stream... After the agreement was signed, it has become clear that Nabucco is significantly ahead of South Stream, owing to the fact that the project has the consolidated political support of practically the whole of Europe... Gazprom's brainchild, South Stream, cannot boast such consolidated support.

MIKHAIL SERGEYEV IN RUSSIA'S NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA

Gazprom's refusal to purchase Turkmen gas in the amount agreed upon last year and the current total suspension of purchasing has forced Ashgabat to look for a substitute for Russia as the major buyer... Analysts say that the Turkmen-Iranian deals are bad news for Gazprom, which is losing its monopolistic position in the transit of gas from Central Asia.

PAVEL ARABOV IN RUSSIA'S IZVESTIYA

Nabucco has been officially launched in Ankara. If everything goes as planned, Europe will get a long-awaited gas pipeline bypassing Russia in four years' time.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.



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