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Iran official says Tehran looking at sending gas to Europe amid soaring energy prices

Illustrative: This March 16, 2019, photo shows a natural gas refinery at the South Pars gas field on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf, in Asaluyeh, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Illustrative: This March 16, 2019, photo shows a natural gas refinery at the South Pars gas field on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf, in Asaluyeh, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran is considering the possibility of exporting gas to Europe, an oil ministry official says today against the backdrop of soaring energy prices due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“Iran is studying this subject but we have not reached a conclusion yet,” deputy oil minister Majid Chegeni is quoted as saying by the ministry’s official news agency, Shana.

“Iran is always after the development of energy diplomacy and expansion of the market,” he adds.

Though Iran boasts one of the world’s largest proven gas reserves, its industry has been hit by US sanctions that were reimposed in 2018 when Washington withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Talks aiming to revive the 2015 nuclear deal began last year in Vienna but have been on pause for weeks amid outstanding issues.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February sent global oil and gas prices soaring, with many European countries dependent on energy imports from Russia.

The situation worsened Wednesday when Kyiv said Russia had halted gas supplies through a key transit hub in the east of the Ukraine, fueling fears Moscow’s invasion could worsen an energy crisis in Europe.

Last year, the European Union received around 155 billion cubic meters of Russian gas, accounting for 45 percent of its imports.

Iran’s deputy oil minister also confirms that Tehran and Baghdad had signed a memorandum of understanding a few weeks ago that will see the Islamic Republic increase gas exports to Iraq.

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