The European Union has signed a groundbreaking deal with Turkey to deliver gas from countries around the Caspian basin straight to the heart of the EU. The EUR 7.75 billion Nabucco pipeline will run from Erzurum in eastern Turkey through Ankara to Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Baumgarten near Vienna in Austria. The project – much talked about and long delayed since it was initially put forward in 2002 – was finally agreed to on the week of 13 July 3009, although it is not due to come on stream until 2014. The Nabucco pipeline will considerably weaken what many in Brussels regard as Russia’s stranglehold on the supply of gas to Western Europe. Partners in the pipeline project include OMV of Austria, BEH of Bulgaria, RWE of Germany, MOL of Hungary, Transgaz of Romania and Botas of Turkey. It will use the existing Botas pipeline to bring gas from eastern Turkey to Ankara. The gas will initially come from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan and possibly, later, from Egypt, Iraq and Iran. Construction of the pipeline will start in 2011 and the first gas will flow in 2014.