Iran is cementing its ties with regional allies, Iraq and Syria, by signing a massive gas deal that would transfer energy from Iranian gas fields to the Lebanese coast, with the possibility of exports to Europe.
Iran, Iraq and Syria on Monday signed a $10 billion gas deal, which would take gas to Europe including Greece, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported.
Analysts say that the deal sends a big signal to Syria, which is facing huge protests after the advent of the Arab Spring – an expression of a string of regional pro-democracy uprisings – that Iran would stand by the regime, led by President Bashar Al Assad.
Gas would be drawn from Iran’s South Pars field, of which, Iraq, till 2020, would consume 10 to 15 million cubic meters. Syria would get around 15 to 20 million cubic meters, while Lebanon’s share would stand around seven million cubic meters. The project is likely to be completed within the next three to five years.
Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji was quoted as saying that Iran could daily produce 600 million cubic meters of gas, and supplies could be doubled in the next few years once new phases in South Pars that are being developed begin to feed in additional gas. Out of the gas that will be sent through a pipeline, around 110 cubic meters would be shipped for export. The pipeline will pass through a contiguous geographical zone, starting from Iran, then onward into neighbouring Iraq, Syria, all the way to Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast.
Iran has the second largest gas reserves after Russia, followed by Qatar, which is in the third place.