Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 4
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
This summer could be a turning point for realization of the Southern Gas Corridor - a project meant for the delivery of gas from the Caspian region to Europe.
Recently it has become clear that Turkmenistan is likely to join the gas flow that runs from Azerbaijan through the pipelines of the Southern Gas Corridor - TANAP and TAP.
And now, Iran has also announced its plan to join this route.
In an exclusive interview with Trend, the Head of the Secretariat of the Azerbaijan-Iran Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic and Humanitarian Cooperation Mehdi Mohtashami said the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) could become a reliable route for supply of Iran's gas to Europe.
Given the massive reconstruction of the entire geopolitical landscape of the region after the nuclear deal with the West, Iran is becoming an important player in the gas market and could make a significant contribution to the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor.
Iran, which accounts for about 18 percent of world gas reserves, has the potential to become one of its largest exporters. But even in the case of lifting sanctions, the country will need at least five years to increase production and build the necessary export pipelines, said the analysts of the Fitch rating agency.
Joining of such major gas players like Iran and Turkmenistan will make the Southern Gas Corridor, perhaps, the most extensive and reliable project of gas delivery to Europe, it will be able to provide the Western countries with a long-awaited energy security and reduce Russia's energy monopoly on the European market.
Deputy Minister of Oil of Iran Amirhossein Zamaninia said that in the medium term, Europe can become one of the key markets for Iranian gas.
The richest gas fields of Iran were practically not developed due to the sanctions
However, currently, this rich blue fuel reserve can significantly affect the gas situation in Europe. All the more so, understating the importance of diversifying its gas supply to European markets, Iran is ready for making very serious investments in the oil and gas sphere. The country calls on both its private sector and foreign players to make investments.
Recently, Iran's Deputy Economy Minister Mohammad Khazaei said that Tehran has already completed the talks with some European companies wishing to invest in the country's economy.
The route through Azerbaijan can be the most appropriate option for Iran's gas supply. Here, the gas can be delivered via the South Caucasus gas pipeline, then TANAP through Turkey and reach Europe via TAP. It is the most real route, since not only geography, but also policy affects gas routes.
For example, it has been recently announced that Iran signed an agreement with the companies for the construction of a new gas pipeline to supply gas to Iraq, Turkey and the EU.
But the political instability in Iraq and the threat of damaging the gas infrastructure nullify all plans for laying the pipes via Iraqi territory. The only Iranian Tabriz-Ankara pipeline with a pumping capacity of 14 billion cubic meters is oriented only on Turkey. It has no technical resources for the transit of gas to Europe.
In other words, it is clear that it is necessary to expand TANAP-TAP to supply Iranian gas to Europe. Both sides want this today. No one can compete with the Southern Gas Corridor project, initiated by Azerbaijan, on the European gas market.
Edited by CN
Trend commentator Elmira Tariverdiyeva