Azeri gas consortium rejects Nabucco pipeline

The consortium developing an immense new Azeri gas field has rejected the proposed Nabucco West pipeline to bring the gas to Europe, Austria's OMV said on Wednesday.

The announcement appears to mean that the consortium, comprising Britain's BP, Azerbaijan's SOCAR, Norway's Statoil and France's Total, has chosen the rival Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

The route taken by TAP is shorter and cheaper than the Nabucco West proposal.

"The Shah Deniz II consortium informed OMV, as a shareholder of Nabucco ... about the decision on their preferred gas transportation route to Europe," the Austrian oil and gas firm said in a statement.

"The Nabucco West project was not selected by the consortium."

OMV said that while it accepted the decision of the consortium, it believed that "the offer which was submitted ... met all the selection criteria and was highly competitive."

Once the gas from under the Caspian Sea has flowed through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, TAP aims to bring it through Greece and Albania to Italy.

Nabucco had planned to transport it from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria.