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Bahrain mulling gas deal with Iran, Qatar: report

Tehran, Aug 2, IRNA -- Bahrain plans to sign agreements with Iran and Qatar next year for the purchase of gas, a Bahraini press report said, citing a finance ministry official.

The projects involve pipe laying under the Persian Gulf, which is expected to finish by 2009, Bahrain Tribune said on its website, quoting Undersecretary for Finance and National Economy, Shaikh Ibrahim bin Khalifa al-Khalifa.

It put the cost of the projects at one billion Bahraini dinars.

Shaikh Ibrahim said talks with Iran and Qatar were 'progressing smoothly and would be completed by the year-end', Bahrain Tribune said.

It said, "Iran has affirmed its keenness to take part in the joint investment project and provide investment options."

The Itar-Tass news agency said last month that Iran had begun building a 140-km-long gas pipeline to Armenia.

It said the two countries had signed an agreement on the project worth around 120 million US dollars in May, when Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh visited Yerevan.

Under its provisions, Iran will be supplying 36 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Armenia annually from 2007 through 2027.

Itar-Tass, citing OPEC sources in Vienna, said that the pipeline might be used to ship Iranian gas to Georgia, Ukraine and farther on to Europe in the future.

Tehran has already a multi-billion-dollar contract with neighboring Turkey to supply gas for 25 years.

The gas flow was launched in December 2001 via a 2,577-kilometer pipeline, running from the northeastern city of Tabriz to Ankara, which supplies gas from southern Iran near the Persian Gulf.

The contract has been a boon to Iran's bid to become a sustainable gas supplier to Turkey and Europe.

Looking for alternative markets, Tehran has held talks with the Persian Gulf littoral states and the Central Asian nations for the sale of gas.

The country sits on the second largest proven gas reserves of the world after Russia, which has been a headache for Iran by getting into, what is feared to be, an unnecessary and costly competition.

... Payvand News - 8/2/04 ... --

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