BELGRADE – Following the lifting of sanctions, Europe has helped Iran boost its energy exports, Narsi Ghorban, Secretary to the Environment and Energy Commission of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Iran, told New Europe.
“After the sanctions were removed the Iranian export increased over 1 million barrels per day,” he said on the sidelines of the 10th SE Europe Energy Dialogue by IENE in Belgrade on June 13. “Europe was a major factor in this increase. Lifting by European energy companies and traders started and increased overtime to make this possible,” he added.
According to Ghorban, gas export to Europe has been one of Iran’s aims since 1975 where IGAT II (Iran Gas Trunkline) was designed and constructed to export 30 billion cubic metres per year to Europe.
“The revolution, war with Iraq and other events changed this project to supply local demand. The idea of gas to Europe via Turkey or through the Mediterranean from Syria – before the Syrian War – was contemplated but nothing has been done,” Ghorban said, adding that this was partly due to the fact that Iran had shortage of gas in wintertime.
“Today the local demand is not increasing as fact as the gas development are happening. There will be around 50 billion cubic metres per year of gas available for export in the coming five years. Around 9 billion cubic metres per year will go to Iraq. Pakistan, India and Europe may be on the agenda and also LNG (liquefied natural gas) export,” Ghorban said.
He noted that the idea of exporting electricity instead of gas is increasingly discussed in Iran. “This is due to changes in the price of oil on which the price of gas is determined. And also on the heavy investment in pipeline needed which its economics is uncertain especially as reliance on Turkey as a transit route is politically questioned,” he said.
“An alternative is a European consortium that invests in the pipeline in Iran and Turkey, get the gas at certain agreed price and the responsible for transport and marketing and above all the security of the operation. A very unlikely scenario,” Ghorban said.
Meanwhile, Independent Energy Consultant Yardakul Yigitguden, former coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, Turkey, told New Europe on the sidelines of the IENE conference that Iran is a huge energy producer country. “Till now they had problems to promote foreign investment or increase the production, and I’m sure in the future Iran will be a major supplier, he said.
US President Donald Trump has criticised a nuclear deal struck in 2015 between Tehran and a group of major powers including the Obama administration, calling it the “worst deal ever”.
Asked if the Trump card could jeopardise the Iranian nuclear deal with the West, Ghorban said, “Trump card is a shadow over all West Asia and more over Iran. No wise company would invest unless US policy is determined of have a direction”.