Iran says Caspian pipeline would threaten sea’s ecosystem

January 25, 2009

TEHRAN -- Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Noqrekar Shirazi has announced that Iran is opposed to all plans to construct underwater oil pipelines on the Caspian seabed.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is against any action or activity that could threaten the Caspian Sea ecosystem, he told the Mehr News Agency in a report published on Saturday.
Commenting on the proposal to build a 700-kilometer trans-Caspian oil pipeline from the Kazakh port of Aktau to Baku, Azerbaijan, he said the construction of an oil pipeline under the Caspian Sea could lead to environmental pollution.
Moscow may have agreed to the plan at some point under pressure from certain Western countries, but Russia is in fact opposed to it and at the end of the day will not approve of implementation of the plan, Noqrekar Shirazi noted.
In light of the world’s growing demand for energy, the exploitation of the potentially significant fossil fuel resources of the Caspian Sea could be a factor in a dramatic realignment of forces on the world oil and gas markets and offer great profit-generating potential in some environmentally fragile areas of the region.
However, the transfer of Caspian Sea oil and gas to global markets is a major obstacle for the littoral states.
In June 2008, Iran announced plans to build a cross-country pipeline to ship oil from the Caspian region to the Persian Gulf and world markets.
Iran is currently conducting feasibility studies for the 1550-kilometer pipeline, which would ship one million barrels of oil per day from the northern port of Neka to the Persian Gulf port of Jask.
Tehran has held several rounds of talks with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia on the construction of the Neka-Jask pipeline, Noqrekar Shirazi stated earlier