WASHINGTON, June 2 The Obama administration told Congress on Thursday it strongly supported a Southern Corridor pipeline to bring natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe, which would reduce the role of Russian supplies.
Russia is a big provider of gas to Europe, which has been looking to diversify suppliers since Russian gas shipments to it were blocked in recent years after transit country Ukraine refused to pay higher prices for fuel from its neighbor.
"From the standpoint of U.S. policy goals, the best outcome is one that brings the most gas, soonest and most reliably, to those parts of Europe that need it most," Richard Morningstar, U.S. energy envoy for the Eurasian region, told a House Foreign
Three pipeline consortiums are competing to bring natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas field to Europe, and the investment decisions to make that possible should be made by the end of this year, Morningstar said.
Other countries will also contribute gas volumes to the pipeline, including Turkmenistan, which Morningstar said was investing in infrastructure that could export gas to the West.
He said Iraq would be able to export gas once it met domestic demand for fueling more power plants.
However, the United States does not want the pipeline to move gas from Iran, Morningstar reiterated.
Morningstar said the United States faces a difficult decision if it chooses to sanction the Shah Deniz gas project because a subsidiary of Iran's national oil company owns 10 percent of the operation.
"The unintended consequence is the resources, which are absolutely necessary for the Southern Corridor, wouldn't go to Europe," he said.
Instead, the gas would likely go to Russia, China or Iran, Morningstar said.
He said Iran would probably benefit if the project were hit with sanctions, because Iran needed gas. "It's a serious policy issue," he said.
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Dale Hudson)
IKEA to continue doing business with Welspun India, awaits sales probe
NEW DELHI Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA AB said it would continue doing business with Welspun India while it awaits the outcome of the Indian textile manufacturer's probe into its sales practices.
India to receive normal rains, not surplus, as La Nina chances fade
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI India will receive normal rainfall over the 2016 monsoon season, not surplus as previously expected, with the chances of a La Nina weather pattern emerging over the period seen as unlikely, three senior officials at state-run weather department said.
Piramal to partner Bain Capital for distressed-debt investment
MUMBAI Piramal Enterprises Ltd said it would partner Bain Capital to invest in distressed assets, becoming the latest entrant in the space as the nation's banks are on a drive to clean up $120 billion of sour debt.