Iran has potential to export Turkmen gas to Europe: Iranian Gas Company CEO (INTERVIEW)

Business Materials 11 January 2010 15:44 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 11 / Trend T.Jafarov /

Trend made an interview with Iranian Narkangan Gas To Liquid International (NGTLIC) Executive Director and head of the International Institute for Caspian Studies Narsil Gorban.

Trend : Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Turkmen Counterpart Gurbangulu Berdimuhammedov attended the opening ceremony of Turkmenistan-Iran pipeline's second branch length 30 kilometers from the Dovlatabad field to Hangeran area. Given the current capacities, the new route will allow to bring gas supplies from Turkmenistan to Iran up to 20 billion cubic meters per year. Do you think Iran have enough capacity to export Turkmen gas to Europe?

Gorban: Firstly, we need to take into account that it requires direct fuel transit, for which the country should build a new pipeline from Turkmenistan to the western Iran to export gas to Europe. The consortium should lay new pipeline with a diameter of 56 inches. Iran has this potential. More likely, both Turkmenistan and Iran will carry certain amounts of gas to Europe through this pipeline.

In addition, it would enable Iran to send Turkmen gas to the domestic market and export similar amounts of its own gas to Europe. This can be done on the basis of swap contract, or whether Iran might be a gas re-exporter, buying it from Turkmenistan and selling in the same volume to Europe.

Iran has enough capacity to implement all these projects. But this requires a consortium of investors. Construction of the pipeline itself is not difficult. This requires a consortium and a financial program. Unfortunately, discussions in this respect have not been held yet.

Q: Don't you think the increasing Turkmen gas exports to Iran, China and Russia can solve filling up of Nabucco with the Turkmen fuel?

A:  I think Turkmenistan can play a role in this project, but not the main, because the country does not have a path to join Nabucco. Turkmenistan could join the project only through the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, as well as the one through Iran and Russia. Moscow and Tehran did not agree with the transit of gas through the Caspian seabed and may never agree with this. If Turkmenistan wishes to join the Nabucco through Russia or Iran, this would require special conditions.

But then another question arises: one of Europe's objectives while implementing the Nabucco is to establish an alternative to Russia. If Turkmenistan joins Nabucco by Russia, the project will not have a strategic importance for Europe. Gas for Nabucco would be provided by Azerbaijan and possibly other countries will join the project. Probably, the Nabucco project may be realized.

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