Iran enjoys good potential to export blue fuel to Europe

By Aynur Karimova

Iran, which ranks second in the world for natural gas reserves, enjoys significant potential and technical opportunities to increase gas supply to Turkey, Amir Abbas Soltani believes.

The first secretary of Iranian parliament's energy commission told Trend that the country also has technical potential to export its gas to European countries.

"Currently, Iran can meet 8-9 percent of the world market’s demand for natural gas," he said, voicing regret that the sanctions didn’t allow Iran to use this potential.

"Tehran always expresses readiness to cooperate with all countries which want to import Iranian gas," he added.

Iran, whose economy was battered by the international sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear energy program, has long been eyeing to supply the European Union with its natural gas.

Expecting a speedy removal of sanctions under the recent nuclear deal signed between world powers and Iran, Tehran seems close to reaching its purpose.

Europe is also eager to engage in close energy cooperation with the Islamic Republic, especially after its relations with major energy supplier Russia has been spoiled over the Ukraine crisis. The EU hopes to import gas from Iran, which has some of the world's largest reserves, to reduce its dependence on Russia.

However, Matthew Bryza, the Director of the International Centre for Defense Studies in Tallinn, on the contrary, believes that Iran needs investments to develop its infrastructure for exporting its gas to Europe.

In an interview with Natural Gas Europe, Bryza said that the export of Iranian gas to Europe will take a while.

“You'll see a really rapid uptick in oil volumes. They've got 40 million tons stored right now that could be released. They're going to increase production quite quickly once the sanctions are lifted over the course of a year or so,” he said.

Bryza, who also was the former U.S. Assistant Secretary for South Caucasus, believes natural gas will be a bit more difficult because the infrastructure's not there.

“Iran has underperformed on its gas deliveries to Turkey for some time. There will probably be a flood of investment to help Iran develop those pipeline interconnections into Turkey and beyond, but I think it will take a little while,” he added.

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Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

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