An Iranian official said on Saturday the country expects to begin exporting natural gas to neighbouring Iraq by the summer of 2013, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
In an interview with Mehr, Javad Owji, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company said Tehran has completed more than 25% of a pipeline to Iraq that could carry up to 25 million cubic metres per day of its natural gas to Iraq.
“Currently more than 25% of this 48-inch gas transmission pipe has been completed,” Owji added.
Mehr news agency report said that the estimated the cost of the pipeline would be $450 million and that the Iraqi section would also be constructed with the help of Iranian contractors.
“With the progress in implementation of the construction of the gas pipeline in the two countries, it is expected that gas injection and the launch of the pipeline could occur by Khordad (22 May to 21 June),” Owji said.
Iran, world’s second-largest gas reserves holder after Russia, is chained by international sanctions and is facing difficulty in developing its gas fields. As a result, the Islamic republic is forced to import heating fuel during the winter from Turkmenistan.
Owji said gas extracted from Iran’s offshore South Pars gas field would help feed the pipeline.
“With the operation of new phases of South Pars, surplus gas … can be exported to Iraq,” Owji said.
China’s national petroleum company pulled out of developing Phase 11 of South Pars, Iranian media reported in July, and Iran’s national oil company has said it would replace it with domestic companies in the face of continued delays.