“Nabucco gas project set to test Iran-Russia ties”

“Nabucco gas project set to test Iran-Russia ties”
July 5-15, 2009
     Turkey and 4 EU states have signed a deal in Ankara to start work on the Nabucco gas pipeline in a bid to reduce European dependence on Russian gas. Ankara is set to become a key energy hub for the $10.9-billion project, which still faces challenges in securing suppliers (Reuters). The US and the EU oppose Iran’s inclusion as a gas supplier, but Tehran has said it is willing to supply 10 bcm of natural gas per year (Eurasianet) and Turkish officials revealed that some European states had already signed initial agreements with Tehran (Iran Daily).
     M.K. Bhadrakumar writes that Tehran is hoping to establish a strategic partnership with the EU by using its existing pipelines to transport gas from Turkmenistan to Turkey, pointing out that Tehran recently secured an increased supply of Turkmen gas of 14 bcm per year. The Nabucco project could provide Tehran access to the European energy market and enable other Eurasian energy producers in Moscow’s sphere of influence to reduce their dependence on Russian gas markets (Asia Times Online).
     Nikolas K. Gvosdev believes that Moscow, which hopes to keep Iran’s gas reserves inaccessible to Europe and block potential gas routes traversing Iran, would be more willing to cooperate on international sanctions against Iran if the US guaranteed Russian dominance in Eurasia and the European gas market (New York Times). Alexandros Petersen details a potential Russian strategy to counter the Nabucco project using Moscow’s control over Armenia’s energy sector. Petersen writes that a Gazprom-brokered deal to supply Armenian electricity to Iran could provide Moscow leverage over Tehran. With projects underway to rebuild Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear plant and mine Armenia’s uranium fields, Moscow could also shift Turkey away from its EU allies by controlling potential electricity supplies into Eastern Turkey while cornering the nuclear fuel market (Moscow Times).
Reuters | Eurasianet | Iran Daily | Asia Times Online | New York Times | Moscow Times

Related post:
“Defining US incentives for Iranian cooperation”

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