"Iran enjoys unique status in the field of energy provision," he was reported as telling journalists, eyeing revival of the stalled 8 billion-euro Nabucco project to pipe an annual 23 billion cubic metres of gas from central Asia to Europe.
Rouhani'a comments were attributed to him meeting Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.“We are ready to implement the network to transfer gas to Europe through Austria,” the Iranian leader said, according to the report, referring to Nabucco's planned pipeline stretching 3,300 kilometres from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to European Union countries through Austria and Germany.
Austrian, Bulgarian and Romanian companies were partnered in a project scheduled to go on-stream in 2014. Commissioning delayed until 2018 due to supply sourcing concerns led to the project's closure as priority went to the trans-Adriatic gas pipeline, a component of the EU-lobbied Southern Gas Corridor to send fuel to Europe, bypassing Russia via Greece, Albania and Italy.
Rouhani's reported comments add to debate fuelled by the assertion from Iran's Deputy Petroleum Minister Ali Majedi in August that Nabucco would be useless without Iranian gas and flows estimated at 8 billion cubic metres from Azerbaijan's Shakh Deniz field in the Caspian Sea.
Iran says a supply route through Turkey is optimal: Ankara has shown interest in helping send Iranian gas to Europe.