Iran to present plan to Switzerland for Europe gas exports
A package of proposals over the project will be presented to a high-profile Swiss trade delegation that will arrive in Tehran on Sunday, Fars news agency reported.
“Iran’s package of proposals focuses on the Swiss investment in the project to pipe gas to Switzerland,” an unidentified official has told Fars.
The official added that “the grounds appear to be ready” at the current juncture for signing a deal between Tehran and Bern over the proposed scheme.
“Iran negotiated with a Swiss team [over the project] last year. They welcomed the idea to import gas from Iran because they believe they cannot put all their eggs in Russia’s basket when it comes to satisfying their domestic energy needs.”
The Swiss energy group EGL announced in 2007 that it had completed a 25-year deal with Iran to deliver 5.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Europe. However, the scheme was abandoned due to US sanctions against Iran.
It now appears, through the Fars report, that Turkey has also been instrumental in the failure of the scheme.
“Based on the deal with EGL, Iran’s natural gas was envisaged to be piped to Switzerland through Turkey. However, the plan remained incomplete after Ankara started to dig in its heels to have a share from the transit of Iran’s gas,” the report added.
Accordingly, it said, officials at Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum plan to encourage Switzerland to make a direct investment in the project without involving any third-party country.
The deal with EGL, also known as Elektrizitaetsgesellschaft Laufenburg, would take Iran’s gas to Greece and Albania through Turkey. It would thereon flow to Italy through a pipeline under the Adriatic Sea before reaching Switzerland.
A parallel plan to export Iranian gas to Europe – again through Turkey – was being pursued by a consortium led by Austria’s OMV. However, Iran was sidelined from the project – named Nabucco – as a supplier country in 2008 due to a series of complications that emerged – the most important of which were US sanctions against Iran.