Baku, Azerbaijan, July 26
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
The lifting of sanctions from Iran first of all means the flow of foreign companies to that country, including from Turkey, which even during the sanctions had close ties with Tehran.
Iran has got priority areas for Turkish investors. This first of all includes tourism and construction sectors.
But along with that, Iran's oil and gas sector is also very important for Ankara.
Earlier, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (Turkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklıgı, TPAO) told Trend that in case of lifting the West's sanctions from Iran, it may get interested in exploring hydrocarbons in that country.
TPAO said that earlier it held talks with Tehran on the realization of a number of projects, but Iran's stance led to the cessation of the talks.
"If the Iranian side provides TPAO with the opportunity to work in the country, the corporation will be ready to start exploration of hydrocarbons," said TPAO.
According to the previous reports, the minister of energy and natural resources of Turkey, Taner Yildiz said that Ankara intends to cooperate with Iran in the area of hydrocarbon exploration.
All this suggests that for Turkey the oil and gas sector in Iran is one of the key areas.
Some experts believe Turkey can transport Iran's gas, as well as Turkmen gas via Iran, to Europe due to problems in the implementation of the Trans-Caspian Pipeline.
At the moment, there is a gas corridor between Iran and Turkmenistan, but the pumping of gas through this corridor to Turkey is simply unrealistic due to the small capacity of that infrastructure.
In this case, there remains hope only for realization of the Trans-Caspian Pipeline. This is a short route, and in addition, there is a ready infrastructure for pumping gas through the territory of Azerbaijan.
Even if Iran and Turkmenistan will be selling gas to Europe, it will be possible only through TANAP.
Earlier, the National Iranian Gas Company's (NIGC) Director for International Relations Azizullah Ramazani said in an interview with Russian media that Iran, after the removal of sanctions, could use the "Turkish Stream" gas pipeline to be built by Russia.
No matter how much the Iranian side is interested in the "Turkish Stream", Tehran won't be able to bypass TANAP. Moreover, unlike the Russian project, the Azerbaijani project is already being implemented. Russia meanwhile is waiting for the formation of a new government in Turkey.
Aside from that, for Iran's joining the "Turkish Stream" there will be a need to create an infrastructure in at least 13 provinces of Turkey, where TANAP is to run.
In short, the Iranian and Turkmen gas will not be able to get to Europe without Azerbaijani pipeline.
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu