On Monday, oil ministers of Iran, Iraq and Syria signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of a pipeline to transfer Iranian gas to Europe.
According to Iranian deputy oil minister, Javad Oji, "The first official agreement on the export and transit of natural gas is now ready to be signed between Iran, Iraq and Syria."
The 5,600 kilometer pipeline will convey gas produced in Iran's South Pars gas field in the Gulf to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea before reaching Europe. The pipeline is expected to take 3-5 years to be built and will be able to pump 110 million cubic meters of natural gas a day.
Owji says South Pars has gas reserves sufficient to pump 250 million cubic meters per day for export for the next 80 years.
The agreement is evidence of increasing cooperation between Iran and Iraq. Iraqi oil minister, Abdul Kareem Luaiby, said on Monday, "US sanctions have no impact on the relations between Iran and Iraq. Iraq welcomes expansion of its relations with Iran and we have witnessed enhanced cooperation between the two neighboring countries in previous years."
Iran is subject to international sanctions over its controversial nuclear program which have kept many major international oil companies leery of investment despite the fact that the country is OPEC's second largest oil exporter, with 137 billion barrels of crude oil, and holds the world's second largest natural gas reserves of 28 trillion cubic meters.
According to FARS news agency, the two countries have signed six Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to expand cooperation in various sectors including information technology, health, medication, and culture.