GdF exclusion criticized

ANKARA – The European Union’s coordinator for the proposed Nabucco natural gas pipeline through Turkey said Gaz de France, whose involvement Ankara opposes, should not be excluded from the project in the future. Jozias van Aartsen, in Ankara for talks with Turkish energy officials, said the European Union was as eager as Turkey about the Nabucco project, a major plank in the European Union’s policy to ease dependence on Russian gas. «In the future, we should not exclude this company from the project,» van Aartsen said in reference to Gaz de France. RWE joins project The Nabucco consortium confirmed earlier this month that German utility company RWE will join project aimed at piping gas from the Caspian Sea region to Europe. Austria’s OMV, Hungary’s MOL, Turkey’s state-run Botas, Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz and Romania’s Transgaz are other stakeholders in the project. Ankara opposes Gaz de France’s involvement in the project because of the French National Assembly’s approval of a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered a genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War One. Turkey is also upset about French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s opposition to Ankara’s quest for EU membership. Van Aartsen said the involvement of Gaz de France was not the main issue in his talks with the Turkish officials and he added that the issue of pricing needed to be solved. He said that the problem could be resolved within two weeks in talks between the EU and Turkey and added that the Nabucco project was estimated to cost $5 billion.