On 14th July, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, declared that, “new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges”, following the historic agreement reached to limit Iran’s nuclear power in exchange for the phasing out of sanctions. New horizons indeed, as Iran’s monumental reserves of natural gas could be poised to supply Europe, by some estimates, in as little as one year. The effect of this could change gas supply dynamics in the region significantly: seeing massive capital investments in energy infrastructure between Europe and the Middle East, and ushering in a new era of trade and commercial cooperation.
Reports this week indicate that Spain might potentially “act as a channel for Iran’s gas exports to Europe” according to a meeting between Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, and a Spanish delegation including Spain’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Jose Manuel Soria. Furthermore, at least three foreign companies are looking at reviving an Iranian LNG project to bring it to completion. “A Chinese, an Arabian and a European company are keen to acquire an Iran LNG plant to complete it,” a source confirmed to Fars News Agency on September 8th.
This November in Geneva, the European Autumn Gas Conference, will host what promises to be some of the most eagerly anticipated discussions on security of supply in any European energy conference this year, presenting an unprecedented breadth of perspectives from major European and non-EU energy players including the USA, Russia, Turkey and Iran.
Joining the EAGC speaker faculty for November is Mr. Azizollah Ramazani, Chairman, National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) who has confirmed his participation to discuss essential “shared challenges” and “new horizons” including the prospect of Iran becoming a major gas supplier to Europe. Amongst options on the table is the prospect of Floating LNG (FLNG) which has been discussed recently by NIGEC’s managing director, Alireza Kameli. In July, Mr. Kameli said negotiations are ongoing with the “world’s biggest company in FLNG shipping serving to transfer Iranian gas to Europe in seven to 12 months”. How will an influx of Iranian gas to Europe affect the status quo? What are the technical and regulatory challenges to restarting potentially massive Iranian gas production? And if gas exports to Europe are feasible, when will they happen?
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