Iran has held negotiations with Georgia on sending its gas to the Caucasian nation through Armenia, Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC) Alireza Kameli says.
“Based on negotiations with Georgia, we are supposed to take gas to the Armenian border, for Georgia to receive it at its border with Armenia,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA on Monday.
“For signing a deal, however, the gas exports plan must be economical for Georgia,” Kameli said, without elaboration.
The plan is to transfer 300-500 million cubic feet a day of Iranian gas through a pipeline for use in power generation in Georgia, he added.
Iran is currently exporting gas to Armenia in exchange for electricity. There is a further swap arrangement in place with Azerbaijan.
Kameli stressed that the planned gas exports to Georgia were intended for domestic use and not for Europe.
“The issue of exports to Europe through a pipeline is out of question in our view and our priority is exports in LNG form (to Europe),” he said.
Iran seeks to boost its profile in the regional market after years of Western sanctions and domestic consumption clipped its wings for exports.
With more than 34 trillion cubic meters under its belt, Iran owns the world’s largest natural gas reserves but its share of the global trade in gas is less than one percent.
For the immediate future, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh has said Iran can count on becoming a regional gas hub through exports to neighboring countries.
"Our priority is first to export gas to neighbors because pipeline exports are not profitable as there are transit fees and pipeline installation costs. We first will try to saturate the regional market," he said in November.
All the Persian Gulf countries, except for Qatar, are big gas consumers. Iranian officials have hinted at a pipeline which would bring Turkmenistan gas in the north to Chabahar on the Sea of Oman in the country’s south.