LONDON, July 6 (UPI) -- Natural gas available in deposits in northern Iraq is available for use in the Nabucco pipeline to Europe, Kurdish officials said in London.
Europe is pressing for the Nabucco pipeline to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector. The proposed 2,500-mile pipeline will run from Azerbaijan to Austria via Turkey and would carry 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year to Europe.
Kurdish energy officials in early June said there was as much as 520 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year available in northern Iraq for Nabucco.
Kurdish Prime Minister Barham Salih told CNN's Marketplace Middle East during a London economic summit that his government was making moves to participate in the pipeline for Europe.
"We want to be part of the system," he said.
The federal government in Baghdad opposes unilateral deals from the Kurdistan Regional Government. Salih said, however, that his government was "firmly" within its constitutional rights to embark on energy deals with its neighbors.
He said the provincial laws in northern Iraq made the region an important economic bridge between the East and West.
"We make things easier for the foreign businesspeople coming to the region," he said.