Nabucco regrets loss of Azeri gas, seeks other solution

The Nabucco group, developing a long-planned gas pipeline to Europe, regretted on Friday not obtaining Azeri gas for its project but insisted it would find ways to bring gas to Europe.

The announcement came two days after Nabucco -- a project aimed at reducing Europe's energy dependence on Russia -- lost out to the rival Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) for gas from Azerbaijan's massive Shah Deniz fields.

"Nabucco regrets that the new gas highway to Europe, as planned, will not be realised for the 10 billion cubic metres (353 billion cubic feet) of gas from the Shah Deniz fields," Austrian-based Nabucco said in a statement.

It said however that it would look for new sources for its project, insisting on "the need for diversification" in Europe's energy market.

"We remain convinced that the Nabucco route offers the only possibility to answer these needs," it said.

"Nabucco is confident of developing opportunities based on alternative gas sources."

The project -- backed by Austria's OMV, Hungary's MOL, Romania's Transgaz, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz and Turkey's Botas -- has long been dogged by problems with construction repeatedly pushed back.

Its owners eventually attempted to breathe new life into it by shortening the proposed route.

According to Britain's BP, the Shah Deniz II consortium is to send 10 billion cubic metres of gas per year -- extracted from under the Caspian Sea -- to Europe from 2019.

Via the TAP, it will flow to the heel of south-eastern Italy, rather than to Austria as planned under Nabucco -- an overland route that was longer and more expensive.