Iran, Italy Gas Deal Close

A01368425.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency) Iran and the Italian power company Edison were nearing on an agreement to pump more than a billion cubic feet of Iranian gas to Europe per day, the Iranian oil minister said last week.

“We have almost finalized our negotiations with the Italian company Edison”, Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari told state television.

“Their initial requirement is 1.5 billion cubic feet (42.5 million cubic meters) that they have requested by the end of 2008. Then it will reach 4.5 billion cubic feet (128 million cubic meters)”, he said.

Nozari gave no further details, but the quantities appeared to refer to the amounts of gas that Iran would pump to Italy per day.

After Iranian oil and gas industries were hit by the decision of most European banks to stop dealing with Iran as a result of US pressures, Nozari warned European companies they would miss out on lucrative projects if they did not move swiftly to finalize agreements.

Iran and China’s Sinopec earlier this month signed a two-billion-dollar contract to develop the Yadavaran oil field in what was a crucial agreement for the Iranian energy industry.

Asked how the gas would reach Italy, Nozari said it would be sent through pipelines across Turkey and then either Greece or Albania. “Edison will coordinate with the Turkish side themselves. But it should be either Turkey, then Albania or Greece”.

Iran has the world’s second largest gas reserves after Russia, but until now has remained a relatively minor player in the global export market, specially due to the big consumption demands it is facing from its growing population at home.

It supplies several billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey annually and has signed a preliminary accord with Ankara for exporting gas into Europe, a move decried by the United States.

Italy has relatively warm ties with Iran and several Italian companies are active in the Islamic Republic.

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