Iran General NewsEU-backed gas pipeline needs Iranian fuel, minister Nozari says

EU-backed gas pipeline needs Iranian fuel, minister Nozari says

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ImageBloomberg: Iran's gas is an unavoidable source for the Nabucco pipeline project, that will supply fuel from the Caspian Sea region to Europe, Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said.

By Ladane Nasseri

ImageOct. 4 (Bloomberg) — Iran's gas is an unavoidable source for the Nabucco pipeline project, that will supply fuel from the Caspian Sea region to Europe, Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said.

"The Nabucco project can't be carried out without Iran," he told reporters at a gas conference in Tehran today. "Europe will eventually need to turn to Iran."

The 3,300-kilometer (2,050-mile) pipeline aims to bring gas from the Caspian via Turkey and the Balkans to Western Europe by 2013. The 7.9 billion-euro ($10.9 billion) link is backed by the European Union to reduce energy dependence from Russia.

Such a project needs years to become cost-efficient and Iran is the only country with reserves to supply Europe over an extended period, Nozari said. Iran has the world's second- largest gas reserves.

OMV AG, Austria's biggest energy company, is holding talks with Iran while "studying the possibility of shipping gas" from the country to Europe, the company said last month. The Nabucco group includes OMV, Budapest-based Mol Nyrt., Germany's RWE AG, Bulgaria's Bulgargaz EAD, Romania's Transgaz SA and Ankara-based Botas.

Iran also said last month it's seeking to build a $4 billion natural-gas pipeline to the EU that may rival Nabucco. The country is considering the two pipelines as a means for gas exports to Europe, Nozari said today, adding that the so-called Pars Pipeline was given "priority."

Iran is targeting a share of the global gas market of between 8 percent and 10 percent, Nozari said, without specifying a date. Iran currently has less than 1 percent of the global gas market.

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