Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 31
By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Iran says transferring natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe is not economically justified.
Azizollah Ramezani, the director for international affairs at the National Iranian Gas Company, said some European countries are planning to import gas from Turkmenistan via a Caspian Sea pipeline, Iran's IRNA news agency reported on Jan. 31.
"We suggest that Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan transit natural gas via Iran to Turkey and export to Europe," he said. This is the safest and the most viable route for exporting gas to Europe, he added.
For the time being, European governments do not intend to import gas from Iran due to political reasons, but European parliaments are pursuing the issue, he noted.
Turkmenistan has signed an outline deal with Turkey to supply gas to the proposed Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline project (TANAP).
TANAP envisages carrying 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea, one of the world's largest gas fields, which is being developed by a BP-led consortium. TANAP's capacity is set to rise to 23 bcm by 2023 and to 31 bcm by 2026.
However, to join the pipeline Turkmenistan will have to lay another pipeline across the Caspian Sea.
Iranian energy officials say the Islamic Republic is prepared to export natural gas to European countries seeking to diversify their energy sources and gas supplies.
European countries can import Iran's gas through three separate routes.
A pipeline meant to transfer natural gas from Iran to Europe through Turkish soil is the most viable option. The second pipeline project could be a route that crosses several countries, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to transport Iran's gas to Europe.
The third route would be a pipeline that runs through Armenia, Georgia and under the Black Sea.