Russia Is Not Able to Play a Significant Part in Iranian Gas Transit to Europe

The attempts of Russia to participate in Iranian gas supplies to Europe will hardly be successful. This point of view was sounded by the Senior Researcher of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations Ivan Danilin.

"Russia has been cooperating with Iran and discussed various schemes for a long time, so this is not a novelty. Earlier Iran offered its territory for swap operations. Under this project, Russian oil should have been supplied to Northern Iranian regions, and Iranian oil to world markets via Gulf of Oman on netting basis. But, these schemes turned out to be inefficient due to a mass of financial, technical and political problems ", - informs the expert.

"In recent years, Iran has made a lot of promises to Russia, but Teheran implies the tactic of promises instead of real contracts and agreements to assure Russian support in nuclear issue. In this respect, extremely specific situation arose around negotiations with “Gazprom”, purchase contract Cy-204, etc. However, in recent months Russia has intensified its activity due to the gas crisis. The thing is that due to this crisis, the offers of gas supplies to Europe, that earlier were promoted by Iran actively and that were eagerly observed in Europe, have gained the most powerful impulse. Europeans strive to improve their relations with Iran. Recently, Gerhard Schröderand Bulgarian Foreign Minister have visited this country unofficially but with a clear purpose. Iran led negotiations with a number of other “players”, including corporate ones, as Total and Eon", - noted Danilin.

"Meanwhile the infrastructure for gas supplies around Russia through Turkey and Balkans has already been created in Iran, and it doesn’t require large investments. In this respect, starting from February Moscow has been trying to establish a dialogue with Iran to participate in this process, at least somehow. Last month, one of the Foreign Affairs Ministry representatives stated that NABUCCO is impossible without Iran and suggested to persuade Iran to participate in this project with a hint of irony. But his statement made clear that Russia is trying to improve mutual understanding with Teheran to join somehow Persian gas pipeline, or to agree with Iran for example to participate in the development of fields for European consumers. It’s evident, current negotiations are the continuation of the same line ", - considers the politologist.

"But at the moment the second tactic is being implied. It doesn’t abandon the first one, as it’s evident, that Iran can’t refuse of its own ways of gas supplies to the EU. But now Russia intends to establish Iranian gas transit to Europe through its own territory in order to prevent alternative (non-Russian) gas supplies to Europe around Russia and to gain control over this process at least as a transit state. However, the power of this strategy of the Kremlin is very limited ", - states Danilin.

"Iran is aware that within the terms of already created infrastructure it is able to transport to Europe about 30 billion cubic meters a year, and 40 in prospect. Teheran will hardly agree on compromises, unless Moscow makes significant concessions, which will also hardly influence the situation greatly.

Gas supplies to the EU are considered by Iran as an extremely important strategic objective. For example, this will raise the energy significance of Iran before Europe and this is able to influence the EU position on Iranian nuclear issue. Thus, the potential of negotiations that are currently led by Russia is not that great. At best Russia can count on that some time in future a limited quantity of Iranian gas (5-10 billion cubic meters) will be transported through Russian pipeline networks. But this scenario is also of low probability. This way of supplies is much longer than through Turkey, and it’s less economically effective ", - concluded Ivan Danilin.

Let us remind, according to Iranian Mass Media the Energy Minister of Russia Sergey Shmatko presented a number of offers to Iranian Government. Shmatko in particular suggested Iran to sell a part its oil in Saint-Petersburg Commodity Exchange. He also expressed the intention of Russia to cooperate with IRI in the sphere of Iranian gas export to Europe.

Translated from regnum.ru