Iraq greenlights gas pipeline deal with Iran, Syria

Iraq greenlights gas pipeline deal with Iran, Syria

BAGHDAD - Agence France-Presse
Iraq greenlights gas pipeline deal with Iran, Syria

Fahmideh gas refinery and storage facility is seen outside the central city of Qom, Iran, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2012. Iraq gave the greenlight on Feb. 19 to the construction of pipelines through Iraqi territory that would deliver Iranian gas to Syria. AP photo

Iraq on Feb. 19 gave the go-ahead for a framework agreement to be signed for the construction of pipelines through Iraqi territory that would deliver Iranian gas to Syria.

A cabinet statement said that Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi had been instructed to sign the deal, by which Iranian natural gas could be delivered in the future to Europe as well.

In July last year, Iran, Iraq and Syria inked a memorandum of understanding for the gas pipelines, with Tehran saying that the total cost of the project would be about $10 billion.

The construction of pipelines stretching for several thousand kilometres (miles) "should take three to five years once funding is secured," Iran's deputy oil minister Javad Ouji said at the time.

Ouji said in July that the project calls for the construction of a 56-inch (142 centimetre) pipeline with a capacity of 110 million cubic metres a day, connecting southern Iranian port of Assalouyeh to Iraq and then to Syria, with the possibility of extending to Lebanon and Europe.

Iraq should initially receive about 20 million cubic metres a day for its power plants, and Syria between 20 and 25 million cubic metres a day, he said.

Iran has the second largest proven gas reserves in the world after Russia.

It currently consumes almost all of the approximately 600 million cubic metres (21.8 trillion cubic feet) per day of gas production, but hopes to double its output and export some 250 million cubic metres per day to its neighbours and to Europe from 2015 through developing a giant offshore gas field in the Gulf, which it shares with Qatar.

Baghdad angry over KRG deals with Gazprom Neft

MOSCOW - Reuters

The president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was quoted on Tuesday as saying that the autonomous region of Iraq had signed new agreements in recent days with Russia's fifth-largest oil producer, Gazprom Neft.

The deals may increase friction between KRG and Baghdad, which insists that only it has the authority to grant oil contacts and control crude exports in the country.

"We are satisfied with Gazprom Neft's work in the region. New agreements have been reached with this Russian company in recent days," Masoud Barzani was quoted as saying by news agency Interfax, which didn't report any details.

A spokesman for Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of world's top oil company, Gazprom, declined to comment.

Gazprom Neft acquired interests in two Kurdistan blocks last August. That followed moves by international oil firms to develop fields in the autonomous region that angered the central Iraqi government in Baghdad.

The Russian company also has a contract for the Badra oilfield, controlled by the government. 

Industry insiders have said that Kurdistan offers more lucrative conditions - under production sharing agreements - than the central government.