A senior Iranian oil official has dismissed speculations that Iran may be seeking to displace Russia in gas supply to Europe amid Moscow’s threats of gas cut over the crisis in Ukraine.
Ali Majedi, Iran’s deputy minister of oil for international affairs and trading, made the remarks on Sunday as Russia constantly warns of a possible cut in natural gas deliveries if Kiev fails to pay its debt to Moscow.
“Iran envisages long-term projects with regard to gas exports,” said Majedi. “Iran is looking for a win-win gas deal with European countries.”
The official said Iran, which sits atop the world’s largest gas reserves, enjoys the potential to be a long-term gas supplier to European countries.
Majedi said Turkey would be the “most economical route for transit of gas to European countries.”
He said on May 8 that the level of Iran’s natural gas exports to Europe would vary from 4 to 50 million cubic meters (mcm) per day.
Earlier this month, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said regardless of the gas supply issues between the European Union and Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, the Europeans are willing to diversify their sources of energy.
Iran has been trying to enhance its gas production by attracting foreign and domestic investment, especially in its supergiant offshore South Pars gas field.
Russia provides about half of Ukraine’s and 30 percent of Europe’s total gas demand with key pipelines on the Ukrainian territory.
Last Month, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow may be forced to cut off natural gas supplies to Europe over Ukraine’s mounting unpaid gas debt.
The Russian Energy Minister said Ukraine’s debt could lead to a situation where not enough gas would be pumped into Ukrainian underground storage facilities, which could then result in an undersupply of gas to Southeastern Europe.