Sending gas to Europe doesn’t make commercial sense for Iran, says Matthew Bryza, former US assistant secretary for South Caucasus and former US ambassador to Azerbaijan.
Speaking to Trend Oct. 19, Bryza, who is also the director of the Tallinn-based International Centre for Defense Studies, said there are countries all around Iran, such as UEA, Oman, and Kuwait, which need gas.
“There are other countries that would like to buy Iranian gas, and it is a lot cheaper, a lot easier, and you don’t need to build that infrastructure, you just send it to your neighbors,” he said.
Bryza says it is unlikely that Iran’s gas will go to Europe because economically it doesn’t make much sense.
”There is not enough infrastructure now to get it [gas] to Turkey, and down to Europe, so there has to be a lot of investment in that infrastructure,” he said.
Bryza also noted that if the demand in Europe goes up, if Iran produces gas beyond the volume consumed in its neighborhood, and if sanctions on the Islamic Republic are lifted, it is possible that Iran’s gas will go to Europe.
Speaking further about the prospects for implementation of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, he said the project is now more promising than it has ever been.
“Azerbaijan is also supportive of the project,” Bryza said, adding that Europe is interested in the project, and so are the companies.
Recalling that Malaysia’s Petronas is coming to Azerbaijan, Bryza said, “Petronas together with SOCAR [State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic] could play a part in realization of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.”
The Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline is projected to deliver Turkmenistan’s energy resources to European market.
The gas pipeline is intended to run through the bottom of the Caspian Sea to the coast of Azerbaijan. From there on, Turkmenistan’s hydrocarbons can reach Turkey, which shares a border with Europe.
Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline can be realized as part of a major project for the Southern Gas Corridor, which is meant to deliver the Caspian gas, in particular Azerbaijan’s gas, to Europe.