Iraq not ready to export gas to Europe: oil minister
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 9 / Trend , A.Badalova/
Iraq will not export gas to Europe until the demand for fuel is satisfied on the domestic market, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said.
"We do not expect in the near future or the coming few years to be able to provide dry gas or LNG to the international market before meeting our domestic demand," Bloomberg quoted Shahristani as saying in Bagdad.
Iraq is considered a major potential gas suppler for Nabucco pipeline after Azerbaijan.
Nabucco Gas Pipeline International Managing Director Reinhard Mitschek in October said Iraqi gas deliveries via the pipeline will amount to 8 billion cubic meters in 2015. Nabucco expects deliveries amounting to 16 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan and Iraq. This amount would be sufficient to implement the first phase of the project. Further plans include involving Turkmen gas to bring the pipeline's capacity to 31 billion cubic meters.
Earlier in May, the Austrian OMV and Hungarian MOL, which are Nabucco shareholders, bought a 20-percent stake in the Iraqi natural gas company Pearl Petroleum to increase gas production in northern Iraq. The partners will invest $8 billion to develop gas production and transportation in the region to ensure sufficient capacity for energy supplies to Europe.
According to BP, Iraq's proven gas reserves amounted to 3.17 trillion cubic meters in early 2009 and comprised 1.7 percent of the world's natural gas reserves.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iraqi gas demand was in the corridor of 0.5-3.2 billion cubic meters per year from 1981 to 2006. The lowest demand was fixed in the amount of 0.5 billion cubic meters in 1983 and the greatest in the amount of 3.2 billion cubic meters in 1996. In 2006, Iraq's gas consumption amounted to 1.8 billion cubic meters, which is 0.6-billion-cubic-meters less than in 2005.
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