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Iran to start gas exports to Iraq

04 March 2015 [13:00] - TODAY.AZ

/By AzerNews/

By Sara Rajabova

Energy-rich Iran plans to export natural gas to neighboring Iraq within months.

An Iranian official has said Iran’s gas flow to the Iraqi capital Baghdad could begin as early as May 2015, if the country’s security situation improves.

Alireza Kameli, the head of the National Iranian Gas Export Company said Iran will start with a daily supply of four million cubic meters of gas to Baghdad, which could later rise to 35 million, IRNA news agency reported.

Kameli said the National Iranian Gas Company has pledged to finalize the pipeline project for the export of gas to Iraq soon.

Iran also plans to export natural gas to Iraq’s southern city of Basra in 2016. Kameli said Tehran seeks to supply Iraq with a combined volume of 70 million cubic meters of gas from the two pipelines in the future.

He went on to note that Iran is set to sign an agreement with Iraq in the next Iranian calendar year (starting on March 21, 2015) to supply natural gas to Basra. He added that the country will start export of natural gas to Basra one year after signing the agreement.

Under the deal, Iran would pump 5 million cubic meters of natural gas per day to the Iraqi city, Kameli said, adding that the figure is planned to rise to 30 mcm within 6 years.

Last January, Hamid Reza Araqi, the managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company said a total of 14 domestic consortia had voiced readiness to finance the construction of a pipeline that will transport natural gas from Iran to its western neighbor.

The groups of companies have already received the necessary documents related to investments in the project, and should offer their qualifications by the set deadline, Araqi said adding that the company qualifications will be later reviewed by NIGC, and companies capable of financing up to $ 1.5 billion will be declared eligible.

Araqi further noted that a total of $ 500 million is needed in order to start the project, adding that any interested party holding such a capital will be able to initiate the work and fulfill their obligations within the next two years.

Under a signed 2012 agreement, Iran was to start exporting gas to Iraq in 2014 through the new pipeline, which is to feed three power plants in Iraq. There was also talk of a second pipeline, to the southern Iraqi city of Basra and in 2013, Iraq approved the construction of a $10 billion Iranian natural gas pipeline across its territory that will connect Iran to key ally Syria.

After Russia, Iran has the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves, though nearly 90 percent of its production is consumed domestically. It exports gas to Turkey and imports gas from Turkmenistan.


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