Tehran revisits plans for 3,300km Persian pipeline from Gulf to Europe

Iran is reported to be looking  at reviving plans for the so-called Persian pipeline as a means of increasing its gas exports to the EU. The new pipeline would  replace the existing Tabriz-Ankara pipeline currently used to transport gas from Iran’s South Pars fields to Turkey with a  3,300km network starting with the Iran Gas Trunkline 9 (IGAT-9) running from the port of Assaluyeh to  the city of Bazargan on Iran’s border with Turkey. At Assaluyeh it would connect up with its European section which would effectively run parallel to the Trans Anatolian  (TANAP) and Trans Adriatic (TAP) pipelines that are currently being developed to link Azerbaijan’s Caspian fields to Europe.
On reaching Italy, the Persian Pipeline would split, with the northern branch running on to Switzerland, Austria and Germany and the southern branch to France and Spain. The new pipeline was originally envisaged as having an annual capacity of 37-40bcm and was expected to require at least $7bn in overseas investment. 
The idea of a pipeline running between Iran and Europe first surfaced in 2007 when the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) was contracted to supply Switzerland’s EGL  with more than 5 bcm a year for 25 years in an €18bn deal aimed at reducing Bern’s dependency on Russian gas. Under new management and pressure from the UN, EGL unilaterally suspended  the contract in 2010.
With the lifting of UN sanctions and the deterioration of its relations with Russia driving the EU to look for alternative sources of energy with more enthusiasm than ever, the proposal has now resurfaced.
“Our  [daily]production capacity is going to increase to 1.2 bcm per day during next five years,” the NIGEC’s Director of International Affairs at the National Iranian Gas Export Company Azizollah Ramazani told journalists at the 9th Southeast Europe Energy Dialogue in Salonika last month “The [existing Tabriz-Ankara] pipeline has extra capacity… but it depends on the volume of  gas [NIGEC ends up exporting].”
Ramazani did not rule out the possibility of Iran using TANAP to export gas to Europe. “But we are not in  any negotiations with  the TANAP consortium for such a business,” he insisted.