Oman in Talks With UAE Over Iran Gas Pipeline

Oman in Talks With UAE Over Iran Gas PipelineOman in Talks With UAE Over Iran Gas Pipeline

The Sultanate of Oman has entered into serious negotiations with the UAE to obtain the much-needed licenses to be able to pass its gas pipeline through the emirates' territorial waters to import Iran's natural gas, managing director of National Iranian Gas Export Company said on Tuesday.

“Although getting the required licenses is a time-consuming process, Omani officials are doing their best to obtain them as soon as possible to expedite the development process,” Alireza Kameli was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Kameli noted that the route for the subsea pipeline to export Iran's natural gas to Oman has been reportedly finalized jointly by the experts of Iran and Oman in a recent meeting in Tehran.

"Needless to say, if a state wants to use another country's territorial waters, it must apply for a formal permission and Oman is not an exception," he said.

"The pipeline will run over a distance of about 200 kilometers, from Roodan to Kooh Mobarak, in southern Hormozgan Province to Sahar Port in Oman, and could go as deep as 290 meters from the sea surface before reaching Oman’s shores."

The NIGEC chief, however, said UAE officials have not agreed to let Oman use their territorial waters due to their political disagreements and this issue has turned into a big challenge to complete the mega project that could materialize Tehran’s ambitions to sell liquefied natural gas to overseas markets.

  Alternative Route

Asked about an alternative route in case negotiations fail, Kameli said, "Contingency plans call for laying the pipeline in the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf, which will definitely mean deeper excavations that is not economically viable. Moreover, future maintenance of the pipeline will be much more difficult at that depth, which is why we hope the initiative does not hit a snag due to a disagreement over the route of the pipeline."

The pipeline, which is expected to be laid by 2019 at a cost of $1 billion, will supply 28 million cubic meters a day of natural gas (10 billion cubic meters a year) from Iran to Oman under a 25-year contract.

Almost a third of the imported gas will be used in liquefaction facilities of Oman’s Qalhat plant.

According to Kameli, seven international companies have expressed eagerness to participate in the construction of the Iran-Oman Gas Pipeline.

Evaluating the trilateral meetings attended by the representatives of National Iranian Gas Export Company, Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company and an unnamed Omani company as “positive”, the official noted that the process is continuing as scheduled.

“The project’s contractor [which is due to work under the supervision of the two countries], has been selected, the geodetic operations have been completed on Iran’s part and it is being implemented on the part of Oman,” he said.

Kameli also said preparatory measures, including establishing a joint venture company, for talks on other contracts related to the pipeline, are also on the agenda.