Iran, Iraq agree to start gas trade in summer

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. Mar. 4

By Rahim Zamanov - Trend:

Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Hamidreza Araqi said on Mar. 4 that based on an agreement with Iraq, Tehran will start exporting gas to Baghdad this summer, Iran's Mehr News Agency reported.

Previously it was announced that Iran will start exporting gas to Iraq in the spring.

"Iran will start exporting limited amounts of gas to Iraq with three or four million cubic meters per day," Araqi said.

He went on to note that Iran will implement the deal in three phases.

"Transition to the second phase will take some time because 300 kilometres of pipeline need to be laid, "he explained.

The Iranian Fars News Agency reported in February that once the pipeline is ready, Tehran will start exporting seven million cubic meters of gas per day to Baghdad.

The figure will reach 40 million cubic meters in the first phases. This is while Iran was supposed to export only 25 million cubic meters of gas per day to its south-western neighbour in the first phase.

Iranian gas is expected to account for 30-35 per cent and 65-70 per cent of Iraqi households and power plants gas consumption, respectively.

Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Exports Company Alireza Kameli said on Dec. 7 that Iraq has requested that it increases its gas imports from Iran up to 90 million cubic meters per day, the IRNA News Agency reported.

"The two sides have agreed to increase the volume of Iran's gas exports to Baghdad to 40 million cubic meters from the current 25 million," he explained.

Kameli went on to note that Iran will start exporting 25 million cubic meters of gas in 2014 and increase the figure to 40 million cubic meters in 2015.

"The two sides have also agreed to extend the deal for 10 years," he said.

The deal was previously valid for four years.

Iran will also export 50 million cubic meters of gas to the Iraqi city of Basra.

It was announced on November 16 that Iran plans to delay exporting gas to Iraq until the next Iranian calendar year (to start March 21, 2014).

The continuous delays in starting gas production at different phases of the South Pars Gas field have affected the country's gas exports negatively, the Tasnim News Agency reported on November 16.

Baghdad has not yet completed its share of the Iran-Iraq gas pipeline, so Tehran cannot be blamed for the delay in carrying out the deal.

Iran plans to construct two pipelines to export gas to the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Basra. Iran's sixth cross-country gas pipeline will feed those two pipelines.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on October 30 that the country is also looking to sign deals for gas exports to Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Edited by S.M.

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