TEHRAN – Iranian authorities proposed to reopen the Kirkuk-Baniyas pipeline that runs through Iraq. It would be a crucial element in the creation of an oil supply system to Europe independent of the US, experts say.
Iran proposed to Iraq a project to reopen the pipeline to the Syrian port of Baniyas, in the Mediterranean Sea, to “circumvent US sanctions and not use the Strait of Hormuz, as there are increasing fears about its closure in case of clashes military between the United States and its allies against Iran,” the Iraqi television channel Al-Sumaria reported.
For a long time, a land hydrocarbons corridor in the Mediterranean region is very important for Iran, says political scientist and professor at the Russian Financial University, Leonid Krutakov said, as quoted by the Russian newspaper Vzglyad.
The expert recalls that the war against Syria began shortly after Iran, Iraq and Syria signed a memorandum on the construction of a gas pipeline from the Iranian South Pars site to Europe in July 2011.
This route would allow Europe to dispense with the liquefied gas promoted by the US in the European market, explains Krutakov.
However, due to the war in Syria, plans to build the pipeline were suspended. Approximately at the same time the perspectives of the Kirkuk-Baniyas route were discussed, but after the deterioration of the situation in Syria and northern Iraq, these negotiations were postponed.
Iran is currently proposing to restore the Kirkuk – Baniyas pipeline. Shortly before, the Iranian authorities had announced their readiness to close the Strait of Hormuz if the US continues to pressure the country with sanctions.
Iran’s intention to reopen the pipeline from Iraq to Syria is unlikely to push Americans to invade the Persian country, but these plans greatly increase the stakes in the Syrian game, Krutakov says.
The Kirkuk-Banyas pipeline is one of the important elements in the integration of the Eurasian pipeline, which will lead to the creation of an independent United States system for the supply of energy resources to Europe.
“It is difficult to say in what state the pipeline is now, but restarting such an installation is, in any case, much easier than building a new one. If this is not an attempt to provoke the United States to certain actions, then the project seems quite realistic,” said the expert.
The analyst notes that there will always be buyers in Europe: “Oil remains the engine of the modern economy, no matter what is said about alternative energy sources.”
Russia could also participate in the restoration of the Kirkuk-Banyas route. In January, the Rosneft oil company signed an agreement with the Ministry of Energy and Water of Lebanon. The Russian company received an oil products storage terminal in the Mediterranean port of Tripoli.
Lebanon needs to increase capacity in relation to plans to develop hydrocarbon deposits, but at the same time, the Lebanese government expects the Kirkuk-Banyas pipeline connected to the port of Tripoli to be restored.
Meanwhile, in early July, Iran, Syria and Iraq agreed to create a multimodal transport corridor as part of the expansion of mutual trade relations, another sign that these countries are returning to war-interrupted plans, the article concludes.