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Iran begins building 140 km gas pipeline to Armenia: report

Tehran, July 22, IRNA -- Iran has begun building a 140-km-long gas pipeline to Armenia, said the Itar-Tass news agency monitored here Thursday.

The two countries 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 to 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.

The news agency said the sources had got the news from Armenian ambassador to Tehran, Gegam Garibjian.

To make the whole scheme possible, a 550-kilometer-long section of the pipeline will be laid at the floor of the Black Sea, stretching from the Georgian port of Supsa to Feodosiya in the Crimea, it said.

According to the same sources, the project is estimated to cost about five billion US dollars.

Forecasts suggest that once the project is implemented, the Iranian gas supplies to Europe may reach 60 billion cubic meters a year, of which Ukrainian imports will likely account for 10 billion cubic meters.

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 also 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 - 7/22/04 ... --

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