The Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) may play a leading role in the construction of a proposed deep-sea gas pipeline that links Iran and Oman. South Korean and Iranian authorities are in talks over the possibility that KOGAS may lead the project, and the project owners and KOGAS could sign either a memorandum of understanding or a framework agreement in April or May.
The pipeline project is being led by Iran’s National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC). The pipeline will be conducted in three phases to cover the Iran-the Strait of Hormuz section, the strait section and the Oman-LNG terminal section. South Korea seeks its role in the construction of a deep-sea pipeline in the strait, which is believed to be the most challenging in technology.
The construction is estimated to cost $1.5bn. Natural gas produced from gas fields in South Pars, Iran will be sent to the Sohar industrial port complex in Oman via the pipeline and then to the rest of the world through vessels departing from LNG terminals there.
Iran wants to use well-equipped terminals and other logistics facilities in Oman, while Oman wants to import gas from Iran to increase its gas output. The project began to be studied 10 years ago and in 2013 Iran and Oman agreed to push for the plan. But the project was almost aborted due to intensified Western sanctions on Iran.
The project was revived when sanctions were lifted last January. Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh met his Oman counterpart Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy last January and agreed to conduct the project again. Oman wants to import natural gas from Iran from as early as 2019. South Korea and KOGAS are willing to cover project operation in addition to financial support.