A top executive on the Nabucco pipeline project has backed Iran as a gas supplier of the multi-billion-dollar plan.
After years of stalling, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria finally sealed the Nabucco contract on July 13, as the first step toward building the pipeline that is to break Russia’s near-monopoly on Europe’s gas supply by transferring Caspian gas to the heart of the continent in Austria.
As they inked the agreement in the absence of Iran, Turkey said Tehran should be brought into the project “when conditions allow”.
The consortium Vice President, Johann Gallistl, told an investors’ conference in Ashgabat that Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Iraq could be potential suppliers for Nabucco.
Gallistl said moving Turkmen gas for the pipeline through Iran is another option.
“We hope and expect Turkmenistan to be one of the main suppliers of gas to various markets through Nabucco,” AP quoted the official as saying.
Last month, Reza Kasaeizadeh, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Export Co., said that the pipeline will not become operational in the absence of Iran.
“Unofficial negotiations between some European companies and Iran on the pipeline have started,” said Kasaeizadeh, who refrained from revealing the names of the companies.
The project, costing 8 billion euros ($11.74 billion), was scheduled for completion in 2014.
After the European partners signed the deal, the US lobbied against Iran joining as a supplier.
During his recent visit to Tehran, Turkish Prime Minister Receb Tayyip Erdogan said that without Iran’s involvement in the project, the Nabucco gas pipeline would fail to succeed.
Emphasizing that the Nabucco project needs Iran’s natural gas, he said that Nabucco “would come to a dead end” if Iranian gas were sanctioned.