Iranian Deputy Oil Minister: Neighbors First Choice for Exporting Gas (FARS News Agency (Iran))

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Amir Hossein Zamaninia announced that Tehran prioritizes its neighbors for exporting natural gas supplies.

“Iraq is a potential customer for Iran’s natural gas and once security is maintained in its soil, Iran’s gas export will start to Iraqi cities,” Zamaninia said.

He also added that Oman, Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan also need to import gas from Iran.

Noting that the country aims to strengthen its relations with its neighbors by exporting gas to them, he said, “Exporting gas to the regional countries will deepen relations with our neighbors.”

In relevant remarks earlier this month, a top official at the Iranian Gas Engineering and Development Company (IGEDC) said the country would start supplying natural gas to the Iraqi capital by the end of the current Iranian month of Mordad (ends August 22).

“Testing 100 kilometers of the pipeline has been finished and the pipeline will commence exports of 5 million cubic meters of gas per day (mcm/d) to our Western neighbor in the upcoming 20 days,” managing director of IGEDC Alireza Qaribi said.

Qaribi added that gas exports to Iraq would rise up to 25 mcm/d after completion of the second phase of the Sixth Iranian Gas Trunk line (IGAT-6) by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 19, 2016).

The Iran-Iraq agreement for the supply of natural gas from Iran’s South Pars gas field to Iraq dates back to 2013 but the project has been postponed due to security concerns in Iraq.

Iran’s gas exports to Iraq are planned togo through two lines to Baghdad and Basra near the joint border.

Iran’s total gas exports to Iraq through these two routes have the capacity to be increased to 70 mcm/d, according to the officials of the National Iranian Gas Company.

Iran, which sits on the world’s second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, is making efforts to raise its gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investments, specially in South Pars gas field.