Alternative gas route?

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran is broadening its gas export strategy to pipelines running to Europe via Ukraine, after encountering problems in talks to pump gas across Turkey, a senior oil official said yesterday. Deputy Oil Minister Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian said Iran had reached a preliminary agreement to export 20-30 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year to Ukraine. «Ukraine has agreed to transit 20 billion cubic meters to Europe via Ukraine,» he told state television. «After some problems with Turkey to export Iran’s gas to Europe, this agreement will open Europe’s doors to Iranian exports, which is very important to us,» he added. Gas expert Jonathan Stern, of the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies, said he was skeptical about the project. He doubted Ukraine’s capacity to finance the stretch of the pipeline that would run across its territory. «Ukraine has not got the money to pay for it,» he said. «Even if it was going to happen, we would be talking a minimum of 10 years (to complete),» he added. The agreement is the latest chapter in worsening commercial relations between Iran and Turkey. Turkey has accused gas imports from Iran of being overpriced, of low quality and subject to disruptions.

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