"I can confirm that we have sent invitations to the related parties for the signing of the agreement on July 13 in Ankara," Nabi Avci, an advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, told Agence France-Presse. Erdoğan is expected to host the ceremony but it is not yet sure at what level participant countries will be represented.
Representatives from Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, the five countries through which the pipeline is planned to pass through, will sign the accord. Germany is the sixth Nabucco consortium member, but has no transit role.
Early on Friday, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said, "The technical negotiations have come to an end," but did not give a date for signing the accord. Yıldız held meetings with Russian officials on Thursday in Moscow, where he discussed possible Turkish participation in Russia’s South Stream pipeline project, developed by Russia’s Gazprom and Italy's Eni. The project aims to transfer Russian gas through Bulgaria to Western Europe via the Black Sea. The EU’s Nabucco and the South Stream projects are two competing pipeline plans.
Turkey’s insistence on demanding 15 percent of the pipeline’s 31 billion cubic meters capacity at a low cost was delaying the finalization of the transit agreement.
Romania’s Economy Minister Adriean Videanu told Reuters that the 15 percent issue was resolved but he was not aware of the details.
The pipeline, intended to relieve European dependence on Russian gas, is expected to bring Caspian and Middle East gas to Europe as early as 2014, but the project has been delayed by lack of supplies and infighting among stakeholders. The $11 billion Nabucco pipeline will bring gas to Europe from Iraq, Egypt, Azerbaijan and possibly Russia and Turkmenistan.