Europe preferable sales market for Iraqi gas

Azerbaijan, Baku, November 15 / Trend, A. Tagiyeva /

At the moment, Iraq does not explore the opportunity of joining Turkish-Azerbaijani project of construction of a new gas pipeline as the country has not yet reached the needed gas export capacity, Asim Jihad, Spokesman for Iraqi Oil Ministry, told Trend on Tuesday.

"Natural gas production in Iraq has not yet reached the level allowing the country to partake in gas pipeline projects," Jihad telephoned from Baghdad.

Speaking at an Iraqi oil and gas congress on Monday, Adviser to the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Salahaddin Chimen said Baghdad can join the Azerbaijani-Turkish accord to examine the possibility of building a new gas export pipeline.

Baku and Ankara plan to build a new gas pipeline in the territory of Turkey to export the bigger part of 50 billion cubic meters of gas Azerbaijan plans to produce by 2025.

The participants of the project want to settle all matters pertaining to-be gas pipeline in 2012 to start building it immediately to make it ready by the end of 2017, i.e. startup of the Shah Deniz Phase 2 in Azerbaijan.

Jihad says Iraq works intensively to boost its gas production as the country wants its gas to be exported to international markets.

"Iraq will be read to join international projects over several next years and regards Turkey as the main corridor for Iraqi gas supply to consumers," the Ministry's Spokesperson reported.

Jihad continued to say that, as the sales market of its gas, Iraq prefers Europe given that the latter is eager to diversify gas supply routes.

"However, when Iran will be ready to start exporting its gas to other countries we will consider all alternatives," Jihad said.

Currently, Iraq takes part in a project, which envisions construction of a pipeline for Iranian gas export to Europe. Iraq will use the Iranian gas to be supplied on this pipeline until it starts extracting gas from its own gas fields, supposedly, after five years.

As BP reported, Iraqi proven gas reserves, as of the early 2011, were equivalent to 3.17 trillion cubic meters.

In June, the Oil Ministers of three countries - Iran, Iraq and Syria - concluded agreement of Iranian gas export to Iraq, Syria, and onward to Lebanon and to the Mediterranean within the frames of a project valued at around $10 billion.

As the sides agreed, Iranian gas will be exported on the 5,000-kilometer pipeline stretching the territories of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to European countries, particularly, Greece.

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