TEHRAN (Iran News) –Former head of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) says sanctions have not affected Iran’s gas exports too much but it has definitely affected system of transferring money and the issue of exporting gas to Pakistan is not serious for now.
Speaking to ILNA, Ali Kar said that raising issues related to Iran’s sanctions is actually for getting concession or discount or for getting concessions in deals with other countries.
He noted that sanctions have not affected gas exports too much but it has created problem in retrieving money for the exports and some try to use it for getting concessions from Iran or in deals with other states.
On export of gas to Pakistan, Kar said that export of surplus gas production to neighboring states like Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the Persian Gulf states should be prioritized and it is very important in terms of energy strategy. He touched upon gas export to Pakistan and said that Pakistan was keen Iran to finance the construction of the gas pipeline as the exporting country but Iran’s financial resources do not let it happen and actually the project has remained suspended.
He noted that Pakistan is not in good economic condition for now and it gets its energy demands from other countries with getting considerable discounts and if it does not want to get gas from Iran it will replace Iran gas with Turkmenistan gas but in this case it will have to pay much more cost as Islamabad has to get past the gas through Afghanistan and it will inflict financial and security cost on this country. He added that if Pakistan constructs some 400 kilometers of gas pipelines, it can receive natural gas from Iran for its power-consuming cities.
Kar then pointed to talks with India for exporting gas to this country and said that some projects were not implemented but they are on the agenda. He admitted that Pakistan currently is getting LNG from Qatar and the issue of exporting gas to Qatar is not serious for now.
On the role of Russia in Iran’s gas exports projects, he said that what is clear is that Iran and Russia are two main gas rivals and each tries to maintain its market and to prevent rivals from entering it. He then pointed to the long distance with Europe for gas exports and said although Russians created some hurdles, the truth is that Iran has less chance for export to Europe because of its infrastructures and Tehran should prioritize gas export to neighboring countries while Europeans are working to reduce energy consumption and they want to replace fossil energies with renewable and atomic energy, and gas consumption in those countries is facing downward trend.
Kar reiterated that gas export to Europe will cost Iran very high and it is not logical to focus on it and it should focus on exporting gas in Asia and especially to countries like China, Japan and South Korea.
He noted that Iran’s contract with Pakistan for gas export is based on the take-or-pay system and Iran can take the issue to the international arbitration court but politically it is not logical and Iran should not burn such contracts and should let them remain valid and it will have also positive affect on the relation between the two states.