The Iranian Shana news agency reports that senior oil officials from Iran, Iraq and Syria have signed a trilateral deal on gas trade in Iran on Monday.
The deal, reportedly worth 10 billion dollars [12 trillion Iraqi dinars] involves the construction of a 5,000-kilometer (3,100-mile) pipeline to transfer Iran’s gas from the South Pars gas field to Europe via Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Mediterranean region. The pipeline will take three to five years to build.
The deal was signed by Iran’s acting minister of petroleum Mohammad Aliabadi, Iraq oil minister Abdolkarim Luaibi [Elaibi], and Syrian oil Minister Sufian Allaw, who visited some South Pars gas field phases following the signing ceremony.
The managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), Javad Oji, said an international consultant would be chosen to determine the appropriate route, as well as a financier.
Oji said the South Pars gas field is a reliable source of gas in comparison to the Nabucco pipeline, adding the field holds 16 trillion cubic meters of recoverable gas reserves and has the potential to provide gas up to 80 years at current levels of production.
Referring to satisfactory negotiations with European countries, NIGC’s managing director said: Currently 80 kilometers of the 56 inch sixth Iran’s gas trunkline (IGAT 6), that is intended to transfer gas to our partners, have been completed and construction of the remaining part is underway and is forecast to be completed in the next two years.
In connection with the development of the new phases of South Pars gas field that is shared with Qatar and Iran’s independent gas fields, Mr. Oji noted that Iran’s gas production capacity would double in the next two or three years while domestic gas consumption is expected to fall following changes to the subsidies law. Eventually, Iran will have the potential to export 200 to 250 million cubic meters of gas per day.
Referring to getting permissions from transit countries, NIGC’ chief said: Up to now more than 20 expertise sessions have been held with Turkey, Iraq and Syria on gas exports via their territories and fortunately all of them have given written permissions on the issue. Switzerland would be the first country in Europe to receive Iran’s gas.
According to Oji the project will be funded in the form of BOO and BOT and up to now 15 European companies have expressed an interest in marketing Iran’s gas exports.
"Apart from this pipeline, Iraq is willing to take 20 million cubic meters of gas per day from Iran for a 5 to 10 year period pending development of its own oil and gas fields", Oji told reporters.