Iran scraps gas projects to push pipeline plans

Switch of strategy seen due to lack of foreign investment and political obstacles.
Iran scraps gas projects to push pipeline plans
By AFP
Tue 14 Oct 2008 01:05 AM

Iran is to scrap a number of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in order to expand its capacity to export gas by pipeline, the oil ministry's Shana agency reported on Monday.

"The country's LNG projects whose contracts have been signed will be implemented. But we prefer to expand our gas exports capacities by pipeline," deputy oil minister for planning affairs, Akbar Torkan, was quoted as saying.

"We prefer to change unsigned [LNG] projects to gas exports plans via pipeline," he said.

Iran has drafted several long-term LNG outlines to export 83 million tonnes of liquefied gas from its giant reserves, the second largest in the world after Russia.

But the costly projects have lingered for lack of investment and have been hampered by political obstacles.

The costly LNG technology has only been mastered by a few foreign companies, whose investments in the Islamic republic have not been expanded in recent years.

Western governments have pressured firms to cut their ties with Iran over the country's controversial nuclear programme, which world powers fear could be aimed at seeking atomic weapons - a charge vehemently denied by Tehran.

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