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Iran plans to transit gas through Iraq – official

Hindered by sanctions, country finds new gas route.

August 8, 2010 1:31 by

Iran has been authorised to export natural gas to political ally Syria and the Mediterranean area, transiting its neighbour Iraq, a senior Iranian oil ministry official said on Sunday.

“In a recent meeting with Iraqi officials, that country’s oil and power ministers announced that their government had issued a permit for the transit,” the semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Javad Oji, deputy oil minister and the head of the National Iranian Gas Company, as saying.

Oji said Iran would use its sixth transnational gas pipeline network, segments of which are still under construction, for the exports. The pipeline has a capacity of 110 million cubic metres a day of which 50 million are earmarked for domestic consumption, leaving around 60 million for export.

Iraq’s daily gas need is estimated at 7-10 million cubic metres, including what is required for power generation plants, Oji said.

Although it is the second biggest crude exporter within OPEC and sits on the second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, Iran’s gas export targets have been hindered by U.N. and U.S. sanctions that block access to western technology needed to develop its gas exporter.

(Reporting by Hashem Kalantari; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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