ANKARA (AP)-—The U.S. does not support Iran’s involvement in the Nabucco gas project, a pipeline meant to supply Europe with gas, the U.S. special energy envoy said Thursday.
Richard Morningstar, the U.S. special envoy for Eurasian energy issues, said Iran’s participation in Nabucco — which is to link the Caspian Sea region, Mideast and Egypt to the European Union via Turkey — could only be possible after a normalization of diplomatic ties.
Morningstar told a group of reporters Thursday that inviting Iran to the project without a resolution to the standoff over its nuclear program could “have a negative effect.”
“We don’t want to change our policy unless Iran changes its policy,” he said.
Nabucco is designed to reduce EU dependence on Russian natural gas, but the project has yet to secure suppliers to make it viable.
“We think there are sources,” Morningstar said, urging countries such as Turkmenistan to increase production of gas.
Morningstar, meanwhile, signaled an end to a dispute between Turkey and the EU over gas transit fees and other issues that have been slowing progress on Europe’s attempts to diversify its gas sources.
“As I understand, there will not be a 15 percent lift off,” Morningstar said in reference to the previous Turkish demand to use 15 percent of the gas to be transmitted for domestic consumption. “
Morningstar said Turkey could use Azeri gas and future gas shipments from northern Iraq for its own consumption, urging Turkey and Azerbaijan to workout a deal.
“Azeri gas can be a main contributor,” he said.