Iran says could be 'most economical' supplier for Nabucco
Supplying the Nabucco pipeline with Iran's gas is the most economical alternative for the companies involved in the project, said the National Iranian Gas Export Company's managing director here on Wednesday.
"European companies understand the fact that the project will be economically justified in case Iran is the supplier," Seyyed Reza Kasaiizadeh added, SHANA reported.
"Despite political oppositions, Iran sees itself as s potential supplier of the project," he added.
An intergovernmental agreement on the transit of Caspian gas to Europe was signed on Monday in Turkey at a ceremony attended by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and officials from about 20 countries.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Russia and Iran on Monday to join the Western-backed Nabucco gas pipeline project intended to pump natural gas to Europe, RIA Novosti reported.
"'We want Iran to join the project when conditions will allow, and also hope for Russia's participation in it," Erdogan said at a summit meeting in Ankara convened to sign an inter-governmental agreement on Nabucco.
The ambitious project, estimated at $7.9 billion, is designed to pump Central Asian gas via Turkey to Austria and Germany through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, bypassing Russia. Gas supplies through the pipeline are expected to start in 2014.
The project will be a continuation of the existing Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline and is to transport 20 billion cubic meters of gas a year. Two-thirds of the pipeline will pass through Turkish territory.
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Iraq are being touted as potential suppliers.
The Nabucco pipeline is seen as a rival to the Moscow-backed South Stream project designed to annually pump 31 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and onto other European countries, with the pipeline's capacity expected to be eventually increased to 63 billion cubic meters annually.
Europe has expressed concerns about being dependent on Russia, which supplies a quarter of its gas needs. Calls for diversified supplies intensified following a recent bitter price dispute between Russia and Ukraine in early 2009, when Moscow cut off gas to Ukraine, affecting consumers across Europe.
Moscow has argued, however, that South Stream and Nord Stream would cut EU dependence on transit states like Ukraine and improve European energy security.