Following last week's announcement that Iraq will import gas from Iran, the country's senior deputy oil minister confirmed on Monday that it has tol Iran that it is ready to allow the transit of Iranian natural gas destined for Syria and Mediterranean countries.
Kareem Al Luaby gave the confirmation to Dow Jones Newswires by telephone from Baghdad, but gave no further details.
Iranian Student News Agency quoted a top Iranian gas official on Sunday as saying that the Iraqi oil and electricity ministers declared that the Iraqi government has permitted Iran's gas transit to Syria and Mediterranean states.
Javad Oji, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Co. said that the project would need a pipeline with a daily capacity of 110 million cubic meters to go through Iraq. This differs from the previously-reported figure of "300 million cubic feet", which is about 8.5 million cubic meters.
Meantime, an Iraqi oil official said that a delegation from the Iranian oil ministry was in Baghdad two weeks ago and met with Al Luaby and other senior officials in the Iraqi oil ministry. The official, however, said that he wasn't informed about the outcome of the meetings.
Earlier, another Iraqi oil ministry official said that such a decision would need to be made by the Iraqi parliament. "In addition to that, we don't have the infrastructure to transit Iranian gas to other countries," he said.
Iraq, which has the fifth highest gas reserves in the region, is trying to hold a bidding round for three major gas fields, with the aim of exporting half of the produced gas. However, international companies have been complaining that Iraq hasn't got the infrastructure to export its gas.
Iran holds the world's second largest reserves of gas. But plans to develop LNG schemes have been hit by the reluctance of Western oil companies to invest in them because of the sanctions imposed by Western countries on the country because of its attempts to acquire nuclear energy.
(Source: Dow Jones Newswires)