Tehran starts construction of Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov.17/ Trend F.Milad/
The construction of Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline started on Saturday, the IRIB News Agency reported.
The 225-kilometers long pipeline is projected to be completed by June 2013.
Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus signed the contract to build a new pipeline to transfer Iranian gas to Iraq, Syria and Europe in Asalouyeh port, south of Iran, in July, Mehr news agency reported.
The primary agreement on the strategic project was reached in May in Baghdad.
Under the new deal, a gas pipeline will be constructed to transfer Iran's gas to Iraq and Syrian territories feeding their power plants. It will extend through southern Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea and Europe.
According to the project, Iran's natural gas resources will be transported to Iraq and Syria via a 5,600km-long pipeline which will have the capacity of transferring 110 million cubic meters of gas per day (110 MMcm/d).
The construction of the largest gas transfer project in the Middle East is estimated to cost $5-6 billion; some European financers expressed their willingness to finance this huge project.
Previously, Iranian and Syrian oil ministers said their countries planned to build a gas pipeline with the cooperation of Iraq in January to widen export options for regional energy players.
"A trilateral agreement between the three countries on the transit of gas has been reached. The first official contract is ready to be signed soon," Javad Owji, head of the National Iranian Gas Co. (NIGC), said in May.
"We plan to transit gas from the South Pars field through Iraq, Syrian and then Lebanon to the Mediterranean area and Europe," Owji added.
Owji said up to $6 billion was needed to build the 56-inch pipeline and it would have the capacity to transfer 110 million cubic meters of gas per day.
Early in July, Iraq's Ambassador to Tehran, Mohammad Majeed al-Sheikh said Tehran and Baghdad are set to discuss transferring Iran's natural gas to Europe via Iraq and Syria.
The gas deal would allow Baghdad to use Iran's natural gas supplies, the Iraqi ambassador said.
Iran has the world's second largest natural gas reserves after Russia.