Tehran Can Become Major Gas Supplier to EU

Tehran Can Become Major Gas Supplier to EUTehran Can Become Major Gas Supplier to EU

Iran could become a major supplier of natural gas to the European Union by the end of the next decade, according to new estimates from the bloc's executive following the nuclear deal reached with Tehran this summer.

The European Commission now believes that the bloc could import between 25 billion and 35 billion cubic meters of gas a year from Iran by 2030, according to a European official and a representative of a European energy company, The Wall Street Journal reported. That would put future gas supplies from Iran on a similar level to current imports from North Africa and help reduce the bloc's dependence on shipments from Russia. Moscow currently ships around 130 bcm a year to the EU.

Western governments and energy companies have been positioning themselves to once again tap Iran's rich oil and gas reserves since the nuclear deal improved the prospects of boosting energy cooperation.

EU's energy and climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, held a meeting with delegates from European energy companies earlier this month, including E.On, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Repsol, Total, Engie and Statoil, to discuss possibilities in Iran.

The convention followed contacts between commission staff and officials in Tehran, the European official said, as well as recent visits to Iran by ministers from the UK, France, Italy, Poland, Germany and Spain.

"We want our companies to go there and invest big time … before the Americans and the Chinese," Canete said.

A representative from a European energy company also said the meeting on September 4 was meant to encourage European firms to actively pursue ties in Iran.

"They were trying to make sure that European companies aren't feeling constrained to go along," the European official said.

"Under a first tentative plan, the vast majority of up to 35 bcm of gas from Iran would come in the form of natural liquefied gas, or LNG, and is expected reach the EU via Spain, which currently has the biggest LNG-import capacity in the EU."