It will likely be the first quarter of 2012 before Azerbaijan's state energy company makes a decision on gas supplies for European consumers, an executive said.
Groups managing the Nabucco, the Interconnector Turkey-Greece and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline projects have submitted proposals to Azerbaijan. Baku said it would deliver as much as 350 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year from its Shah Deniz-2 project in the Caspian Sea through whichever project it picks.
State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan President Rovnaq Abdullayev said a decision, previously expected by November, is likely sometime during the first quarter of next year.
"There was never the goal of deciding on a route by the end of the year," he was quoted by the Interfax news agency in Azerbaijan as saying. "This process will probably continue until the first quarter of 2012."
He denied allegations that Nabucco, the most ambitious of the three projects in the Southern Corridor, was out of the running for gas from the Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea.
"I do not know what the basis is for this forecast," he was quoted as saying. "The Nabucco project is at the consideration stage together with the TAP and ITGI projects."