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Nabucco Gas Pipeline Is Impossible Without Iran

Source: Shana 10/19/2009, Location: Asia

The European Union-backed Nabucco gas pipeline should include Iran as a long-term supplier because the country is the only secure option and the project is impossible without Iran, an Iranian gas official said.

"The second largest gas reserves in the world are in Iran and the country will gain a lion share of the world's market in the future. Therefore to build the 31-billion-cubic- meter-capacity Nabucco pipeline and say it should not transport Iranian gas would not make sense," MD of Iranian Gas Transport Company, Mohammad-Reza Almasi told PIN.

The EU has made the 7.9 billion euro ($10.46 billion) pipeline a cornerstone of its policy to ease its dependence on Russian gas and EU is holding talks with major potential.

Almasi continued that lining up supplies from Caspian countries like Turkmenistan and Qatar to European and Asian countries was not as easy as Iran and this country's gas remained a long-term supply option for the project.

Nabucco's shareholders include OMV, MOL, Romania's Transgaz TGNM.BX, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz, Turkey's Botas and Germany's RWE. Allowing a seventh partner to join the consortium was not among the current priorities.

Czech power utility CEZ, one of the leading power suppliers in central and eastern Europe, said it was considering joining Nabucco at some stage to secure supplies for planned gas-fired plants.

The proposed 3,300-kilometer Nabucco gas pipeline project worth EUR 7.9 billion envisages gas supply from the Caspian region to EU countries. Construction of the gas pipeline was scheduled for 2011. The first supplies will be launched in 2014. Maximal capacity of pipeline will hit 31 billion cubic meters per year.

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