Iran to revive gas pipeline project to Oman, IRNA reports


The Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building, which houses the IAEA headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Vienna, Austria, May 24, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

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DUBAI, May 21 (Reuters) – Iran’s oil minister has agreed to revive a long-stalled project to lay an underwater pipeline to transport gas to Oman, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday.

Iran is sitting on one of the world’s largest gas reserves, which Oman has been keeping an eye on as it hopes to supply energy-intensive industries and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities.

IRNA said the agreement to revive the project was struck during a trip by Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji to Oman ahead of an official visit by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to the Gulf Arab state on Monday.

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In 2013, the two countries signed a $60 billion, 25-year deal that would see Iran supply gas to Oman via an undersea pipeline. In 2016, the two countries renewed efforts to implement the project, and Iran said in 2017 that it had agreed with Oman to change the planned pipeline’s route to avoid waters controlled by the United Arab Emirates.

The project was later delayed by price differentials and US pressure on Oman to find other suppliers, before the United States pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran and reimposed sanctions in 2018.

Tehran and Washington held indirect talks in Vienna last year to revive the nuclear deal, which led to the lifting of sanctions, but negotiations have stalled.

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Reporting by Enas Alashray in the Cairo and Dubai newsrooms; Editing by Pravin Char

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