Syria and the geopolitics of gas

Qatar shares the largest gas field in the world with Iran, the South Pars (Iranian appellation) / North Dome (Qatari appellation). Tensions exist between the two countries because Iran is unable to extract its gas as fast as Qatar, mainly because of the sanctions imposed on Iran (Tehran frowns upon the Qatari extraction which is “emptying” the common gas field).

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More than a year ago, Iran, Iraq and Syria signed an agreement for the construction of a pipeline supposed to transport gas from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea in order to supply Europe.

Meanwhile, Qatar transports its gas through the Strait of Hormuz and is therefore dependent on Iran for its exports (with LNG tankers which then need to pass through the Suez Canal). The Emirate had plans to build a gas pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. But, Bashar al-Assad blocked this project, preferring to sign an agreement with his Iranian ally, but above all, to preserve its long-term energy deals with Russia.

As a result, Europe — which is largely dependent on the Russian giant Gazprom for its energy needs — has an interest in seeking a competitor to lower its growing gas bill. We understand that a Sunni power could protect a Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Jordan-Syria pipeline to diversify its sources. Besides, this path would allow Europe to further isolate Iran by preventing it getting supplies from a “Shia pipeline” Iran-Iraq-Syria.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/milad-jokar/war-in-syria-geopolitics-_b_2378683.html