BUDAPEST Oct 20 Hungary's parliament ratified in a near unanimous vote an agreement on the Nabucco natural gas pipeline ironed out by governments earlier this year and signed by the pipeline's host countries in July.
The July agreement, which irons out details over transit and tax issues for the hosts, was a major political boost for the project and could speed up Nabucco, which has been marred by political infighting and is still dogged by questions over supply and financing. [ID:nLD637622]
The 7.9 billion euro Nabucco aims to carry natural gas from the Middle East and the Caspian region to central Europe to reduce the region's reliance on Russian gas. Companies involved in the project aim for first deliveries by the fourth quarter of 2014. [ID:nL1538099]
In 2015, the pipeline's first full year of operation, it expects to transport 8 billion cubic metres of gas from Iraq's Kurdistan region. Deliveries should rise to 31 bcm once the pipeline is fully running and additional supplies are secured, probably from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
Nabucco's shareholders include Austria's OMV (OMVV.VI), Hungary's MOL MOLB.BU, Romania's Transgaz TGNM.BX, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz, Turkey's Botas and Germany's RWE (RWEG.DE). France's GDF Suez (GSZ.PA) has also said it is ready to study possible participation in the project. [ID:nLD711716] (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by David Holmes)