Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said today Europe can receive 15 billion cubic metres of Iraqi gas via Turkey.

Maliki made his comments during a gathering of EU and regional leaders in Turkey to sign the planned Nabucco pipeline project, but it was not immediately clear if the sale of 15 billion cubic metres of Iraqi gas was for Nabucco.

He did not give a timeframe.

Maliki’s comments came a day after Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq does not have any surplus gas to sell via US-backed Nabucco pipeline now.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan expressed its interest in the Nabucco pipeline project.

The gas-rich Caspian country wants diversification of its energy export routes, Azerbaijan’s industry and oil minister Natik Aliyev said.

Egypt’s oil minister Sameh Fahmy told the gathering that a planned Arab gas pipeline could be a potential source of gas for Nabucco.

EU governments and Turkey will sign transit agreements in Ankara today for the European and US-backed Nabucco pipeline, which aims to reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia by transporting gas from the Caspian and Middle East through the planned pipeline from 2014.

But critical supply and financing questions may thwart progress as a rival Russian plan, the South Stream pipeline, edges ahead.

(Upstream Online)