This weekend, Iran’s oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has announced the Islamic republic’s willingness to supply natural gas to Europe and help the continent diversify its energy supply away from Russian gas. Iran has the world’s second largest natural gas reserves, and this announcement is most welcome at a time when Europe’s energy security is once more threatened.
Last Friday, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak has warned about the possibility that Gazprom will cut natural gas exports to Ukraine in June: “If we don’t receive pre-payment for June by May 31, then it is possible Gazprom will reduce gas supplies to Ukraine or provide it with the capacity it has paid for by May 31”, reported Reuters. As markets are concerned about Europe’s energy security, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone call on Sunday to discuss the Ukraine crisis and the gas supply issue.
As noted by The Telegraph, Europe only has few alternative sources of supply to diversify away from Russian gas, considering the competition with powerful Asian economies, and European states’ opposition to fracking. Hence, Iran’s offer to ship “big volumes” of gas to Europe is particularly timely: “As a country capable of supplying gas in very big volumes, Iran is always willing to be present in Europe’s market, either though pipeline or in LNG form”, stated Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.
Do you have thoughts on how to increase Europe’s energy security and the role Iran could play in diversifying Europe’s energy supply away from Russian gas? Start a discussion by leaving a comment below.
You could also learn much more about ways to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, and the role of the East Mediterranean LNG market, by participating in our European LNG Prospects Briefing, on 19th June in London.
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