Nabucco: Survey Shows Demand for Pipeline

VIENNA — Nabucco Gas Pipeline, which plans to pump gas from Central Asia to Europe starting in 2013, said Monday that a survey of potential customers showed its capacity would be overbooked from the first day it goes onstream.

The survey asked potential shippers to declare their interests on a nonbinding basis, said Nabucco, which is led by Austrian oil and gas group OMV.

It was done last month in preparation for the more formal open season process, in which customers make binding bids for capacity.

"More than 100 percent overbooking from day one in 2013 shows huge demand for the provided Nabucco capacities on a strong growing gas market," Nabucco managing director Reinhard Mitschek said in a statement Monday.

Nabucco said the open season process would start once the legal framework for Nabucco was established.

The planned 3,300-kilometer pipeline still needs to win exemption from European Union anti-monopoly rules and an agreement among the governments whose countries the pipeline will go through.

Nabucco's shareholders are OMV, Hungary's MOL, Romania's Transgaz, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz, Turkey's Botas and Germany's RWE. The pipeline is expected to cost 7.9 billion euro ($11.8 billion).