Iran to export natural gas to Europe in few years

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 22 / Trend, A.Yusifzade /

Iran plans to start natural gas export to Europe in 2013 or 2014, an official at the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGEC) told Trend in a telephone talk.

Iran and Syria have signed an agreement to build a gas pipeline to transfer Iran's natural gas to Europe, Deputy Oil Minister Managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), Javad Oji said today.

Oji said that Iranian gas pipeline will procure energy needs of Iraq and Syria and by passing through the territories of these two countries it is connected to the Mediterranean Sea via south Lebanon and then to Europe.

Based on a trilateral agreement among Iran, Iraq and Syria an international consultant will be chosen within the next month to implement the preliminary work for constructing the pipeline, Oji added.

"It is estimated that this pipeline will be constructed with a length of 2,000 kilometers with a 56 inches in diameter. The length of this pipeline in the Iranian territory will be 700 to 1,000 kilometers, its length will be 500 kilometers in Iraq and between 500 to 700 kilometers in Syria," Oji said.  "The capacity of this pipeline for gas transportation will be 110 million cubic meters."

This pipeline is expected to meet Iraqi gas needs by 10 to 15 million cubic meters per day, Syria's by 15 to 20 million cubic meters and south Lebanon's by 5 to 7 million cubic meters, he added.

The price would be determined by the consortium that is slated to construct the planned gas pipeline based on gas formula

Oji said the value of the new pipeline for gas exports to Europe via Iraq and Syria will vary between $2 and $2.5 billion. He did not specify the financing sources, just saying they will be attracted from abroad.

Earlier, Iran's First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said exporting Iran's natural gas to Europe through Turkey will be beneficial for both Tehran and Ankara.

"Cooperation between Iran and Turkey in pumping Iran's natural gas to Europe is in the interest of both nations and governments," Rahimi said.

In a meeting with visiting Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz in Tehran, he also stressed the need for implementation of all agreements reached between Tehran and Ankara on energy cooperation.

"Iran and Turkey should achieve their specified goals as soon as possible," Rahimi said.

Yildiz, for his part, said that his country is ready to increase its cooperation with Iran on energy and gas fields, according to the report.

The Turkish minister pointed out that Ankara is determined to help Tehran transit its natural gas to Europe.

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Seyyed Reza Kassaeizadeh announced in February 2009, that Iran and Turkey had signed an agreement to transfer Iran's natural gas to Europe via Turkey. According to the agreement, Turkey could transfer up to 35 billion cubic meters of gas from Iran to Europe, Kassaeizadeh said.

On Sunday, the Iranian oil minister announced that a new gas field worth more than $50 billion had been discovered in southern Iran.

Khayyam gas field with in-place reserves of 260 billion cubic meters of natural gas was discovered in eastern part of port city of Assaluyeh.

The gas field has proven reserves of 220 million barrels of gas condensates.

Iran discovered 13 new oil and gas fields with in-place reserves of 14 billion barrels of oil and 45 trillion cubic feet of natural gas within August 2009 to August 2010, a report published by Iran's Oil Ministry said in August 2010.

According to Iran Petroleum Ministry, Iran's proved natural gas reserves are about 29,610 cubic meters or about 15.8 percent of world's total reserves. It possesses the world's second largest reserves after Russia.

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