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Iran, Oman sign deal to study sub-sea gas pipeline
September 22, 2015 | 6:41 PM
by Times News Service
Offshore deal was signed between the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC) and Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas. For the onshore section, an agreement was signed between the Pars Consulting Engineering Company and the Omani side. - Supplied picture
 
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Muscat: An agreement has been signed between Iran and Oman to study a sub-sea gas pipeline for carrying Iranian gas to the Sultanate in a project worth $60 billion, said an Iranian official.

Two separate agreements were signed for studies in the offshore and onshore sections, with Omani Oil Minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy visiting Tehran, Iran’s Press TV reported on Monday, quoting Alireza Kameli, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC).

In an interview published on the Iranian Oil Ministry’s website Shana on Tuesday, Kameli said that the export of Iranian gas to Oman is expected to begin in two years and a half time.

“This is our target. However, the two countries will be making efforts to shorten this time,” the official said.



According to Press TV, the offshore deal was signed between the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC) and Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas. For the onshore section, an agreement was signed between the Pars Consulting Engineering Company and the Omani side.

The offshore section envisages building a pipeline for 200 kilometers from Kuh-e Mubarak in Iran to Oman’s Sohar port in five months. The onshore section of the pipeline in Iran will be built for another 200 km from Rudan to Kuh-e Mubarak in six months.



The agreement for the purchase of around $60 billion worth of natural gas from Iran for 25 years, which includes laying a $1 billion gas pipeline to Oman across the Gulf, was signed during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Muscat in March 2014.

Infrastructure

Oman has undertaken to pay the entire cost of the pipeline and the related infrastructure, according to Iranian Oil Minister BijanZanganeh, Press TV reported.

Zanganeh has said that gas exports to Oman and entry into its retail market will make it possible to sell the Iranian natural gas to the region, especially Asian countries.

In July, Kameli said the Gulf countries are Iran’s top priority for gas exports.

“Currently, many countries have voiced readiness to invest in our upstream and downstream gas sector and are seriously pushing for imports of the Iranian gas. Although we cannot ignore the European gas market, exports to Europe come later in our priorities,” Kameli said.

The gas project between Iran and Oman was expected to start earlier but it had faced a number of challenges.

Representatives of the business community in Iran and Oman have repeatedly expressed hope that with the lifting of the sanctions on Iran as part of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, the implementation of the gas project and other joint initiatives would be expedited.

Significant development

In an interview with the Times of Oman, Ali Akbar Sibeveih, Iran’sambassador to the Sultanate, had said that the export of gas to Oman will mark a significant economic development in the relations between the two countries.

According to the ambassador, Oman is Iran’s priority in trade as new opportunities are opening up for foreign investors following the nuclear deal.

“We will give priority to those friends who stood by us during the time of hardship. Definitely, the Sultanate of Oman and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said have a special and important place among Iran’s loyal friends,” Sibeveih noted.

The lifting of the sanctions will give a significant boost to Iran-Oman bilateral trade and Iran will show its ‘loyalty’ to the Sultanate, he said at the time.

Bilateral trade

According to the latest statistics of Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the value of Oman’s imports from Iran stood at OMR215,774,867 in 2013, showing a 172.2 per cent increase compared to 2012 during which Oman imported OMR79,262,355 from Iran.

Also Oman’s exports to Iran (exports and re-exports) totalled OMR124,261,002 in 2013, an increase of 8.4 per cent in the amount of exports against OMR114,673,887 in 2012.

So the value of bilateral trade stood at OMR340,035,869 in 2013, compared to OMR193,936,242 in 2012.

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