Gas from Iran, Turkmenistan not to reach Europe in medium term

Feb 02, 2016 12:00 AM

Iranian and Turkmen gas will not reach Europe in short or medium term, says Professor Jonathan Stern, chairman and senior research fellow at the Natural Gas Research Program of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

“Small volumes from Iran (additional to exports to Turkey) may be possible in the early 2020s,” Stern told Trend Feb. 1.

The expert noted that the only way to supply Iranian gas to Europe, other than through Turkey, is its delivery as the liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Speaking about the prospects for Turkmen gas export to Europe, Stern said that the only route for such supplies would be across the Caspian Sea, unless they can go via Iran. However, he noted that both routes will be costly.

EU officials have repeatedly called for diversification of gas supply sources. Iran and Turkmenistan, the proven gas reserves of which, according to BP, amount to 34 trillion cubic meters and 17.5 trillion cubic meters, respectively, can become major gas suppliers to Europe in the long term.

On Jan. 16, the US and the EU announced that they lifted their nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. The removal of the sanctions will allow Iranian oil and gas enter the global markets.

Iranian officials have stated that LNG export to Europe is a priority for the country. Iran is already developing an LNG plant, which is expected to become operational in 2018 with a production capacity of 10.5 million tons annually. In the next three years the country expects to launch five LNG projects.

Reportedly, Iran is also in talks with France, Germany and Belgium for construction of LNG tankers.

As for as Turkmen gas supplies to Europe, the EU, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan created a special working group in 2015 at the level of deputy ministers in charge of energy sphere. Moreover, in late 2015, Turkmenistan commissioned the East-West gas pipeline, which could be used for natural gas transfer from Galkynysh – the biggest deposit in the country’s eastern regions – to European markets.

Earlier, Maros Sefcovic, the vice-president of the European Commission for Energy Union, said Europe will get the Turkmen gas in 2019.

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