BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 30 (UPI) -- Comments from Iran that its gas could be used for the Nabucco pipeline to Europe are complicated by resource availability, U.S. officials said.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza recognized Iran's energy potential in an interview with the Trend news agency but said the country did not have enough gas to deliver to the planned pipeline.
"They (Iran) have gas reserves, but these reserves are not available for use," he said.
European ministers recently raised Iran as a potential supplier to Nabucco, noting its massive natural gas reserves. The United States, however, opposes ventures into the Iranian energy sector and has extended punitive economic sanctions over the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear program.
The $10.7 billion, 2,051-mile Nabucco ultimately would link to Caspian suppliers via the Trans-Caspian and South Caucasus networks and possibly Iran through the Iran-Turkey pipeline. Iraq is also a major source of untapped natural gas, but domestic politics and war have hampered hydrocarbon development there.
The pipeline would bring some 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to European markets each year. Construction is set tentatively for 2011.