ECONOMY

Iran, Greece to talk natural gas

DUBAI (Reuters) – Energy-rich Iran plans to talk with Greece late this month about delivering natural gas, a first step towards realizing its European supply dream, an Iranian energy source said on Thursday. «Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh’s trip to Athens is an exercise in ‘planting the seeds’ for entering the European gas market,» the source said. Zanganeh intends to hold bilateral meetings with Greek energy officials while in Athens for a industry conference on January 30 and 31. Blessed with bountiful gas reserves – the world’s second largest after Russia – Iran’s drive to become a major gas exporter is still in its infancy. OPEC heavyweight Iran is still years from striking a gas deal with the Mediterranean country and delivery would depend on agreement from Turkey – where a new pipeline running from Iran to the Turkish capital of Ankara was recently put into use. «Iran truly envisages Turkey as the gateway to Europe,» said the Iranian source. «And Turkey would make money out of the transit fees.» Iran’s supply arrangement with Turkey is its biggest gas export effort yet. By 2007, sales could rise to 13 billion cubic meters per year, above the 10 billion cubic meters initially planned.