Iran-Europe pipeline project to create alternative to existing and proposed routes

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 26 / Trend A.Tagiyeva /

Jordanian expert on the economy in the Middle East Fahmi Katout believes a pipeline project to supply Iranian gas to Europe, which was planned jointly by Iran, Iraq and Syria, may rival the Nabucco pipeline project.

"Realizing this project means the emergence of a new alternative to the Nabucco project, a partner for Europe", Katout told Trend in a telephone conversation from Amman.

The oil ministers of Iran, Iraq, and Syria signed an agreement in the Iranian city Asalue on Monday to build a 5,000 kilometer-long gas pipeline supplying Iranian natural gas to Europe, the Fars news agency reported.

The project will cost $10 billion. The gas pipeline will stretch from the Iranian gas-bearing region Asalue in the Khuzestan province, to the Iran-Iraq border, and further to Syria, Lebanon, and across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.

Its capacity will be 110 million cubic meters of gas per day. The agreement for gas transit to Europe, Iraq, and Syria will be completed by late 2011. The project will be implemented within five years.

Katout commented on the possibility of the project realization at a time of the existing differences between Iran and the West problems. He stressed that economic interests always prevail over political ones.

"Political problems are not so important as economic cooperation and development of the countries from an economic point of view", he said.

In addition, Katout said that the economic crisis hardly hit Europe and is facing an energy deficit.

"If this project is implemented, it is possible that Europe will have a more favorable partner in Iran", he added.

He emphasized that one can assume that this project will be successfully implemented given the close cooperation of Iraq and Syria with Iran.

"This project also may help to eliminate the existing problems between Iran and Europe", Katout said.

Iran yields only to Russia in the world's natural gas reserves. Approximately 16 percent of world gas reserves are accounted for by Iran. Nabucco relates to the Southern Gas Corridor.

The Southern Corridor is a priority EU energy project which will diversify energy supply routes and sources, and increase EU energy security. The Southern Corridor includes the Nabucco gas pipeline, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), White Stream, and ITGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline).

Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania (members of the project "Nabucco"), Greece and Italy (projects ITGI, TAP) are among the countries intending to buy gas from the "Southern Gas Corridor".

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