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EU sources: Door fully open for Iranian gas supply to Europe

The recent agreement between Greece and Turkey on the construction of an interconnection between their countries' gas networks to carry natural gas supplies opens the possibilities of export of Iranian natural gas to Europe, say EU sources, IRNA reported from Brussels.

"This agreement opens fully the door for Iran to export natural gas to Europe. Iran is one of the main beneficiaries," one EU source told IRNA, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

European Commissioner for transport and energy Loyola de Palacio commenting on the Greek-Turkish agreement said Tuesday that it will not only bolster peace and stability in the region but will also make it possible to supply new gas resources from the Caspian Basin and Iran to the internal gas market of the enlarged European Union.

A gas pipeline between Iran and Turkey is already in operation, while Athens and Tehran are discussing to extend the pipeline to Greece and at a later stage to Western Europe.

EU and Iran are engaged in a dialogue to promote energy cooperation between the two sides.

"We have no problems with Iran in energy cooperation. This agreement will have an impact on Iran," said the sources.

The European Commission had, in 1999, helped set up the first economic cooperation agreement between Greece and Turkey, focusing particularly on interconnecting their national gas networks.

In 2000, these intergovernmental agreements made it possible to institute commercial negotiations between the gas companies of the two countries (DEPA in Greece and BOTAS in Turkey).

This was the basis for the Commission to grant 5 million euro in funding under the trans-European energy network program towards technical and commercial studies for the construction project.

The last agreements were finalized in December 2003 following a meeting in Athens between de Palacio and the Greek and Turkish ministers, and after a series of contacts between her and the authorities of the producer countries, leading to confirmation that the work on the construction project should begin as early as 2004.

... Payvand News - 1/21/04 ... --

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