Iran-Turkey Gas Deal Gives New Hope for EU Nabucco Pipeline

Iran-Turkey Gas Deal Gives New Hope for EU Nabucco Pipeline

According to statements made Sept. 27 by the Turkish Minister of Energy Hilmi Güler, Ankara and Tehran plan to sign an accord this month on the exploitation of the natural gas reserves of South Pars on the southern Iranian coast. In a preliminary agreement concluded in July, it had already been agreed that Turkey's state-controlled oil company would invest some $3 billion over seven years in the construction of operating equipment. In addition, Turkish and Iranian enterprises are supposed to develop joint ventures for the transport of the gas by way of a pipeline system that will extend to eastern Turkey.

New Hope for the Nabucco Project

A branch of the new pipeline should also someday permit the transport of natural gas from Turkmenistan to eastern Turkey and from there to the EU, thus avoiding its having to transit Russian territory. For weeks now, Güler has explicitly stressed that the Turkish-Iranian deal does not only serve to help cover Turkey's own growing energy needs, but should also be of benefit for the Nabucco pipeline project. The European Union project to build a high performance gas pipeline from eastern Turkey to the gates of Vienna has thus far had problems getting off the ground: among other reasons, because of uncertainty about supplies. Until now, binding supply agreements have only been concluded with Azerbaijan, which is already able to transport natural gas from Baku to Erzurum by way of a secure pipeline. In the long run, however, the Azerbaijani gas supplies are far from sufficient to keep Nabucco in operation at full capacity.

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