Iran says it is studying various options for exports of natural gas to Europe thus again reviving an ambitious plan that had been previously shelved due to sanctions as well as technical problems.
Alireza Kameli, the managing director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC), was quoted by Iran's media as saying that exporting natural gas to Europe through constructing a new pipeline is not economically beneficial.
This, he said, is due to the fact that the price of natural gas has decreased internationally and that the construction of a new pipeline has no economic justification.
Kameli said Iran is looking for several options for exporting gas to Europe. One, he added, includes using the available pipelines or constructing shortcuts to existing pipelines.
In July, Azizollah Ramazani, the NIGEC director for international affairs, was quoted by the media as saying that Iran is looking into the possibility of supplying natural gas to EU consumers through a pipeline that would pass through Southeast Europe toward the West.
Ramazani emphasized that Iran could be connected with Turkey’s Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) to export gas to Europe. “TANAP may be possible because it has also excess capacity. But we don’t have any negotiations with TANAP consortium for such a business,” he said.
“Our production capacity will increase to 1.2 billion cubic meters per day during next five years. So we have enough gas for export,” Ramazani said on the sidelines of 9th Southeast Europe Energy Dialogue.
Iran had for years pursued plans to export natural gas to Europe. A tentative scheme that was developed in cooperation with Nabucco - a consortium led by Austria’s OMV – envisaged piping Iranian natural gas from the southern energy hub of Assaluyeh to Turkey and thereon to Europe. However, Nabucco eventually abandoned Iran in 2008 after complications grew the most important of which were US-engineered sanctions against the Iranian energy sector.
A parallel plan to export Iranian gas to Europe – again through Turkey – has been pursued by Switzerland’s EGL, also known as Elektrizitaetsgesellschaft Laufenburg,
Based on the EGL scheme, the Iranian natural gas would be taken to Greece and Albania through Turkey. It would thereon flow to Italy through a pipeline under the Adriatic Sea before reaching Switzerland. However, this scheme had a fate similar to that of Nabucco.