Nabucco Project Unlikely without Iran

A04090036.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s National Gas Exports Company said the Nabucco project to transfer gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe cannot succeed without Iran.

Speaking to FNA Sunday on the sidelines of the 13th International Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Exhibition, the company’s managing director, Nosratollah Seifi opined that the 3,000-km long Nabucco gas pipeline will face a number of technical problems on its long route from the Caspian region to Europe.

The project has already been stalled in the absence of guarantees that there will actually be enough gas flowing through the pipeline, Seifi noted.

The Iranian official dismissed the idea of substituting Iraq, Turkmenistan or the Republic of Azerbaijan for Iran in this project, saying, “Iraq is currently facing a serious shortage of natural gas in its northern region and it will take many years for the country even to supply enough gas for its domestic consumption.”

Transfer of gas from Turkmenistan through the Caspian Sea will be expensive; in addition, Turkmenistan’s obligations to export gas to Russia and China do not allow it to export gas to other countries in Europe, said the Iranian official.

As for Azerbaijan, the country apparently lacks sufficient natural gas reserves for export to Europe, Seifi noted.

On the other hand, a number of countries, including Turkey, Switzerland and Germany have expressed a serious interest in importing gas from Iran, he added.

Iran has just signed a 25-year agreement with Switzerland, based on which the Islamic Republic will export 1.0-1.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year in the first phase, starting from 2009, and 4 billion cubic meters per year upon completion of the second phase of the project.

Iran is also currently in negotiation with Germany and Italy to export natural gas.

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