Iranian Province Ready to Construct Pipeline to Transfer Gas to Herat

Iranian Province Ready to Construct Pipeline to Transfer Gas to Herat

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An official with Iran’s Khorassan-e Razavi province said on Monday his province is capable of constructing a pipeline to transfer Iran’s natural gas to Afghanistan’s Herat province.

Ali Rasoulian, head of Economic Affairs Office of Khorassan-e Razavi provincial administration, announced the province’s readiness in a session on the issue in the presence of the head of Herat Province Chamber of Trade and Industries.

He said that the matter would be followed up if Afghanistan made an official written request.

Iran exports natural gas to Turkey, Armenia, and the isolated Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan, and receives pipeline imports from Turkmenistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Since 2000, Iran's annual natural gas imports have exceeded its exports in all but two years (2010 and 2012). In 2011 and 2012, Iran accounted for less than 1 percent of global dry natural gas imports and exports, a small figure considering the country's vast reserves.

Afghanistan has sizeable reserves of natural gas and crude oil, but violence in the country and poor infrastructure have made it very difficult to exploit those resources.

Most of the unexploited natural gas is located in the Amu Darya basin, while the crude is largely found in an area known as Afghan-Tajik.

The Afghan government said in July it signed a 30-year gas sales and purchase agreement for a multilateral pipeline planned from Turkmenistan.

Afghanistan will receive 17.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year during the first 10 years of the pipeline's operation. Its allocation from the pipeline would increase gradually to 52 billion cubic feet per year in the following decades.

But that piepline seems more like a pipedream as it involves two arch-rivals, India and Pakistan, which can hardly agree on a joint project due to deep-rooted mistrust and suspicion.

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