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Cablegate: Iraq Discloses Plan to Export Gas to Syria In

VZCZCXRO3854
PP RUEHDA
DE RUEHIT #0129/01 0731225
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131225Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7533
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0067
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0109
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA PRIORITY 2346
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7952

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ISTANBUL 000129

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG IZ TU EG
SUBJECT: IRAQ DISCLOSES PLAN TO EXPORT GAS TO SYRIA IN
TRILATERAL TALKS

REF: ANKARA 277

------------
Summary
------------

1. (SBU) Iraqi Energy officials stated at a meeting with
Turkish and U.S. officials in Istanbul that Iraq will
export natural gas to Syria within two years. Subsequent
expansion of this gas field in western Iraq would aim at
exports to Europe via Turkey and the Nabucco pipeline,
though realizing this larger goal would require the U.S.
and Turkish Governments to work together to help the
GOI develop a strategic vision for natural gas. The
Turkish delegation proposed and an additional electrical
utility line to feed Mosul, and all three delegations
agreed on better communication to avoid interruptions of
electrical service to Iraq. The U.S. and Turkish
delegations then proposed agenda topics for a subsequent
meeting. In a separate meeting with EUR DAS Bryza,
Egyptian energy officials said that Egypt could export
gas to Europe if current capacity is increased. End
Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Iraqi Gas to Flow to Syria with Two Years
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (SBU) The head of the Iraqi delegation to the Gas
Trilateral meeting in Istanbul on March 1 stated that
natural gas from western Iraq could be delivered to Syria
within two years. Energy consultant to the Prime Minister,s
Office Abdulillah Al Amir said that with assistance from
Syria, Iraq is developing four gas wells at the Akkas Field
in western Anbar province that can export 50 million cubic
feet (mcf) per day to Syria. Furthermore, the second phase
of the Akkas field could deliver up to 500 mcf per day by
2015. Al Amir stated that the second phase is intended to
supply Europe through the Arab pipeline with up to 6 BCM or
more. Moreover, the Iraqi Oil Ministry can move forward on
the second phase without the passage of the Hydrocarbon Law
since the Iraqi Parliament could approve it as a separate
bill.
But al Amir also warned the GOI had not yet developed a
strategic vision to move toward phase II gas exports to
Europe, and needed prodding from the USG and GOT to expand
its strategic thinking. The head of the American delegation,
EUR DAS Matt Bryza, welcomed the prospect of exporting
Iraqi gas and received strong agreement from the Turkish
delegation for joint cooperation with the GOI on strategic
gas issues.

3. (SBU) Selahattin Cimen, Acting Undersecretary for the
Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, also
embraced this news and emphasized that Turkey,s current
infrastructure could incorporate Iraqi gas with little
difficulty. He also inquired about the status of Iraq's
national gas strategy the GOI is developing in
collaboration with Shell, beginning with a survey of
Iraq,s gas reserves. Al Amir responded that his ministry
will need to review Shell,s survey for about a year before
they are able to construct a national plan. Turkish Acting
Special Envoy for Iraqi, Murat Ozcelik argued for the GOI
to make a special effort to facilitate energy cooperation
and trade between the two counties, perhaps by providing
Turkish businesspeople advance notice of tenders and
technical specifications for energy projects. Bryza
countered that free market principals, especially
transparent tendering, should take precedence in this
process.

---------------------------------------
Expanding Electrical Service to Iraq
---------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural
Resources proposed increasing the supply of electricity to
Iraq by doubling the capacity of the electrical grid. An
additional line capable of 850 MW power to Mosul was
proposed in partial fulfillment of the August 7, 2007
memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the two
countries. In addition, Turkey will provide technical
training to Iraqi personnel as stipulated in the MOU.

5. (SBU) Dr. Falah Al Amri, Director General of the Iraqi
Oil Marketing Company, appreciated the additional capacity,
but complained about the interruption of electrical service
from Turkey in January. Ozcelik responded that the Turkish
government did not cut Iraq,s power; rather a private

ISTANBUL 00000129 002 OF 002


Turkish company, Kartet (retel), was forced to stop
service due to contractual issues. Bryza suggested
establishing a conduit between the Turkish and Iraqi
governments to work out technical disputes on electricity
and gas matters. The Turkish delegation strongly seconded
this proposal.

--------------------------------------------- -------------
Setting an Agenda for the Next Talks
--------------------------------------------- -------------

6. (SBU) The Turkish and American delegations were eager to
announce key points for the meeting; however, the Iraqi
delegation was hesitant to make any announcement. Both Al
Amir and Al Amri from the Iraqi delegation explained they
were only technocrats who did not make policy.
Furthermore, any announcements regarding gas exports would
anger some members of parliament, thus prompting
unnecessary conflict. An agenda for future talks was
drafted in lieu of an announcement from the current
meeting. The Turkish and American delegations also
suggested meeting on this issue around every three months,
with an agenda circulating to the parties one or two weeks
before the meeting. Al Amri did agreed to this suggestion.

7. (SBU) Bryza put forward the following four points, in
order of importance, as a possible agenda for the next
meeting:

-- Meet Iraqi domestic demand for gas.
-- Develop the Akkas gas field as quickly as possible..
-- Expand Akkas gas production following the tender process
that begins in two months. Pursue export of Akkas gas
into the Arab pipeline, and onward to Turkey
and Europe via the Turkey-Greece-Italy and Nabucco pipelines..
-- Use the trilateral process to facilitate communication
and resolve commercial disputes before problems escalate
and affect electricity service or oil shipments.

--------------------------------------------- -------------
Bryza Meets with Egyptian Gas Officials
--------------------------------------------- -------------

8. (SBU) On the margins of the Iraqi Trilateral meetings
Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum Deputy Executive Director
for Production Abdullah Ghorab told Bryza that Egypt hoped
to export natural gas to Turkey and onward to Europe, but
currently did not have excess gas. Domestic needs, LNG
exports, as well as exports to Jordan and Syria through the
Arab pipeline will likely strain current capacity. Currently
only half of Egypt,s reserves are developed, thus providing
the
possibility that significant volumes Egyptian gas could
eventually
go into Nabucco, according to Ghorab.

9. (SBU) The Egyptian delegation welcomed Bryza,s comment
regarding the prospect for Iraqi gas to enter into the Arab
Pipeline and for the possibility of Egyptian gas exports to
Turkey and into the TGI and/or Nabucco pipelines. They
expressed
readiness to work with the USG and companies developing
Egypt,s
gas reserves to develop a plan for future exports to Turkey
and
the rest of Europe.

10. (SBU) The Egyptian officials claimed they have
developed condensed natural gas (CNG) technologies over the
last few years and would be ready send CNG ships to Greece
and Cyprus within one to two years. Ghorab, however,
declined to disclose the name of the company assisting
Egypt with this technology.

11. (U) DAS Bryza has cleared this cable.
WIENER

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