Iran’s Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh told a conference audience in Athens yesterday that his country wants to become a major exporter of natural gas to Europe. «We recently started exporting gas to Turkey… We will increase exports to Turkey from 4 billion cubic meters to 10 billion cubic meters per year during the next five years… We would like to use Turkey as a central point of distribution of natural gas to Greece and the rest of Europe,» Zangeneh told a conference on «Oil, Gas and Electricity» organized by the Economist Conferences. Natural gas reserves Iran has confirmed natural gas reserves of 26.6 trillion cubic meters, or 17 percent of global reserves and is second only to Russia. It also accounts for 20 percent of the world’s confirmed oil reserves, or 100 billion barrels. Iran will gradually shift emphasis to the production of gas over the next years, since it is more environmentally friendly, the Iranian minister said. «Iran has planned to increase its gas production of 300 million cubic meters per day to over 500 million cubic meters a day by the year 2005,» he added. Until now, Greece has only imported natural gas from Russia, through a pipeline. It has also imported some liquefied gas from Algeria.