|Oil Minister: European Firms Interested in 'Persian Pipeline'|
|Written by public relations Dept./Gh|
|Saturday, 09 May 2009 09:29|
|Source:Fars News Agency|
TEHRAN - Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari Friday announced that several firms from different European countries, including Germany, have voiced enthusiasm for cooperation in the 'Persian Pipeline' project.
In an Interview with German business daily Handelsblatt, Nozari reminded stepped up plans for the planned Iranian gas pipeline project - or the so-called 'Persian Pipeline' - which would transport gas from Iran to Europe.
The Iranian oil minister said that several European firms, including those from Germany, had signaled "interest in cooperation" on the project, and reiterated that German energy companies are keen to take part in the project.
However, Nozari did not name the German companies, saying the relevant firms
would soon make an announcement on the issue.
Earlier in April, Nozari said that feasibility studies on the Persian pipeline which is to link Iran to Italy and Greece via Iraq, Syria and the Mediterranean Sea started 7 months ago.
The Iranian minister further reminded mounting gas needs in Europe and noted that Iran is an absolutely reliable energy partner for Europe.
In an answer to a question about ongoing efforts by the German government to block trade with Iran, Nozari told the German daily that Tehran could not wait "endlessly" for German companies to join Iranian economic projects.
Iran, which sits on the world's second largest reserves of both oil and gas, is facing US sanctions over its civilian nuclear program.
Iranian officials have dismissed US sanctions as inefficient, saying that they are finding Asian partners instead. Several Chinese and other Asian firms are negotiating or signing up to oil and gas deals.
In a last case, Iran signed gas deals worth $14 billion with Malaysia's SKS Group in early December, including a contract to build an LNG plant.
Following US pressures on companies to stop business with Tehran, many western companies decided to do a balancing act. They tried to maintain their presence in Iran, which is rich in oil and gas, but not getting into big deals that could endanger their interests in the US.
Yet, after oil giants in the West witnessed that their absence in big deals has provided Chinese, Indian and Russian companies with excellent opportunities to sign up to an increasing number of energy projects and earn billions of dollars, many western firms are increasingly showing interest to invest or expand work in Iran.
Some European countries have also recently voiced interest in investment in Iran's energy sector after a gas deal was signed between Iran and Switzerland regardless of US sanctions.
The National Iranian Gas Export Company and Switzerland's Elektrizitaetsgesellschaft Laufenburg signed a 25-year deal in March for the delivery of 5.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
The biggest recent deal, worth €100m ($147m, £80m), was signed by Steiner Prematechnik Gastec, the German engineering company, this year to build equipment for three gas conversion plants in Iran.
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