By John Lee.
A spokesman for Iran's Oil Ministry has confirmed that Iran is planning to build a pipeline to carry natural gas to Iraq and Syria.
Alireza Nikzad Rahbar told Iran's PressTV on Wednesday:
"Based on agreements already reached, a 56-inch pipeline is to be laid out from Assaluyeh [near South Pars Gas Field in southern Iran] to the Iran-Iraq border to feed three Iraqi power plants running on gas ... In the near future, a trilateral meeting will be held in Baghdad between Iran, Syria and Iraq to devise the necessary plans for extending the pipeline from Iraq to Syria."
Iraq has reportedly requested 30 million cubic meters per day (mcmpd) of natural gas from Iran in the first phase, which is scheduled to come on-stream by next summer.
Nikzad Rahbar said Syria has requested 25-30 mcmpd of gas, but the route for the extension of the pipeline from Baghdad to the Syrian border and from there into the country has not been surveyed yet.
He noted that the pipeline would be designed to deliver gas to Muslim countries like Jordan and Lebanon and that, if necessary, it could be extended to reach European countries
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi (pictured) said in July that the Islamic Republic is expected to start exporting natural gas to Iraq by March 2013 upon the completion of the Iran-Iraq gas pipeline project.