Iraq says no gas for Nabucco, may supply someday

Oil&Gas Materials 13 July 2009 02:08 (UTC +04:00)

Iraq does not have any surplus gas to sell via the planned Nabucco pipeline now as it is focusing on its domestic needs but it may one day supply the project, a government spokesman said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

"There is a possibility Iraq will be one of the sources of the gas, but not in the current stage because we don't have surplus gas now," Ali al-Dabbagh said.

Dabbagh spoke a day ahead of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's trip to Ankara, where transit agreements will be signed paving the way for the 7.9 billion euro ($11 billion) pipepline, which is expected to pump 31 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Europe by 2014 and reduce European reliance on Russian gas.

Dabbagh said Maliki would attend the signing ceremony but that "Iraq will not sign the Nabucco agreement because at this point domestic use of gas is Iraq's priority".

Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria will sign the transit deals.

In May, Baghdad rejected a plan from Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region ruled by minority Kurds, to supply gas to the Nabucco project, intensifying a long-running feud between Iraq's majority Arabs and minority Kurds over oil and territorial issues.

The Iraqi government rejects any Kurdish deals with foreign firms, or exports, without its permission.

Baghdad has also said it might someday export surplus gas through the Arab Gas Pipeline to the Middle East and Europe.