Switzerland / Facts / The Iran business of EGL
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Saturday, October 19, 2019

EGL's Iran business

EGL is the main initiator of the Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP), whose intended purpose is the delivery of Iranian gas to Europe. Alongside EGL, the Norwegian Statoil and – since early July – the German E. ON are engaged in the TAP project. In connection with the TAP, in 2008 EGL closed an about 20 billion Swiss Francs deal with the state-owned National Iranian Gas Export. As provided in the contract, the deal covers the delivery of 5.5 billion cubic metres of gas per year to Europe over a 25 year period, starting 2012. TAP is to lead from Greece via Albania to Italy in order to pipe gas from the Caspian region and the Middle East through Turkey to Central Europe. Whereas Pipeline Managers spread that a purchase of Iranian gas via TAP was “unlikely” since the imposition of new Sanctions on Iran, EGL announced on its website still in early September 2010 that the contract allows “(…) that via the TAP, Europe can benefit for the first time from the world's second largest gas reserves in Iran.”

Swiss authorities emphasize that EGL’s business deal with Iran is a “private contract”. EGL, however, is owned by the AXPO group to 91 percent, which for her part is 100 percent in cantonal ownership. To this day, the EGL deal is supported by the government in Bern. At strong request of the Iranian regime, Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey traveled to Teheran only to accompany the signing of the gas deal.

 On the Iranian side, great importance is attached to the deal. Seyed Reza Kassaei Zadeh, director of the Iranian Gas Export Company: "The contract is one of our most important deals." Concerning the implementation of the treaty, some details still have to be negotiated. According to EGL, transit rights for TAP are still missing and thus object of current negotiations. The gas supplies are intended to cover not only the needs of Switzerland, but also large parts of the Italian demand. Since mid-September 2010 EGL keeps announcing that in the "initial phase" of the TAP they intend to refrain from Iranian gas, but stresses at the same time that the supply contract concluded with Iran in 2008 remains unaffected.