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Sat 30 Aug 2008 03:17 PM

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Iran, Oman to discuss gas partnership

Iran's oil minister to travel to Muscat for meeting on exporting Iranian gas to Oman.

Iran's oil minister will travel to Muscat in the next week to discuss plans to export Iranian gas to Oman from where it could be exported using an Omani liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.

Iran has the world's second biggest reserves but has been slow to develop gas exports and has no LNG facilities, which supercool gas so it can be exported by ship.

Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari's discussions would cover Omani investment in Iran's Kish gas field in the Gulf and the export of Iranian gas to that country and Iran's partnership in the Omani LNG industry, the ISNA news agency reported.

It said he would travel before the end of next week but did not give a precise date.

Mahmoud Zirakchianzadeh, managing director of National Iranian Offshore Oil Company, said the two countries were in negotiations on the export of one billion cubic feet of Iranian gas per day to Oman, ISNA reported.

A memorandum of understanding has already been signed and Iran hopes the final agreement on exporting gas to Oman will reach the signing stage by the end of the year, ISNA reported.

The gas heading to the Omani LNG facility will be used by the National Iranian Oil Company, a state firm which oversees Iran's hydrocarbons industry, in its international marketing and sales, ISNA reported.

Some of the Iranian gas would be used by Oman, it added.

The two countries have also talked of developing another Gulf gas field, called Hengam in Iran and West Bukha in Oman.

Officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Iran's gas reserves were put at 27.80 trillion cubic metres at the end of 2007, compared to Oman's much more modest 690 billion cubic metres. (Reuters)

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