Muscat: Oman government is yet to appoint a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for building a 260-km-long pipeline that will carry Iranian gas to Oman, which could probably delay the implementation of the project.
"[Work for] the feasibility study at the moment is being kicked off. We have not finalised the tender regarding the feasibility study. We need to do the feasibility study first," Salim Nasser Said Al Aufi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, told the Times of Oman.
The agreement for the purchase of around $60 billion worth of natural gas from Iran in the next 25 years, with the project including laying a $1 billion gas pipeline to Oman across the Gulf, was signed during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Muscat in March.
The proposed pipeline would connect the Iranian province of Hormuzgan to Sohar in Oman. The agreement was signed in the aftermath of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said's visit to Tehran from August 25 to August 27, 2013.
At the time, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said that Iran would start pumping natural gas to neighbouring Oman by 2015, according to Press TV.
Not an easy project
Asked about the latest developments in the project, the official said, "We need to agree exactly in which direction the pipeline is going. We need to finalise the feasibility study. We need to make sure that whoever is doing the study is not impacted by the sanctions on Iran and so on. So, it is not an easy project."
Oman's Minister of Oil and Gas Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy had earlier said that the Iran-Oman gas pipeline project should be completed by the end of 2017, according to news agencies.
In addition, Iranian Ambassador to the Sultanate, Ali Akbar Sibeveih, had previously told the Times of Oman thatthe excess gas, which is projected to account for 50 per cent of the total amount of the gas exported to Oman, would be delivered to Japan, South Korea, and especially India.
Buy gas from Iran
In June, Kuwait became the second country in the Gulf to announce plans to buy natural gas from Iran, which sits on the world's largest gas reserves.
"Iran has large quantities of gas and Kuwait is in need of Iranian gas through cooperation between the two countries," Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) quoted Ali Saleh al-Omair, Kuwait's minister of oil, as saying during his visit toTehran.
The latest agreement involving Oman and Iran is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build a transport corridor that will run from Uzbekistan across Turkmenistan and then to Oman via Iran.
In early August 6, the foreign ministers of the Sultanate of Oman, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan held a meeting in Muscat and signed an MoU for Ashgabat Agreement on Establishment of the International Transport and Transit Corridor among the state parties.
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