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Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji told reporters in Tehran, "Seven international investors have announced their readiness to finance, design, and construct the pipeline that will transport 110 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Iraq, Syria, and European countries per day."
Owji added that talks are underway to begin construction of the multi-billion-dollar project by March 2012, Mehr News Agency reported.
In July Iran, Iraq, and Syria signed a $10 billion contract for transiting Iranian natural gas from Iran's massive offshore South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf to Europe via a 3,100-mile pipeline crossing Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and subsequently submerging beneath the Mediterranean before surfacing in Greece, the EU’s first transit country. The pipeline is estimated to take 3-5 years to build.
Last month Owji stated that Iran has the capability to produce 600 million cubic meters of gas per day and that the country’s natural gas output could double when new phases of the South Pars gas field come on stream over the next few years.
Given the political difficulties in all three countries, many energy analysts have expressed skepticism as to the project’s feasibility, especially that Iran is subject not only to UN but U.S. sanctions as well. Washington’s constraints include severe penalties for any domestic or foreign company investing more than $50 million in Iran’s petrochemical industries, which has left Iran largely bereft of significant foreign investment in its hydrocarbon sector.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com