TEHRAN, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Iran welcomes Russia's participation in its gas pipeline project which is planned to transfer the country's natural gas to Europe, an Iranian deputy oil minister said on Monday, according to Press TV.
"We are welcoming Russians' participation in the project to build Iran's IGAT-9 with 2.5 billion U.S. dollars of investment," Deputy Minister of Petroleum Hamid Reza Araqi said.
"Russians can participate in the construction of this pipeline, but Iran's priority is to hold international tenders for the project," he said.
IGAT-9 is an Iranian pipeline with 35-billion cubic meter capacity per year that Iran plans to send gas from its South Pars field to Europe via Turkey.
Over the past year, Iran has raised gas production to about 700 million cubic meters per day, Araqi said, adding that this capacity is expected to exceed one billion cubic meters next year when new South Pars phases become operational.
"In tandem with the rise in production capacity, the country's capacity for storage and transportation of gas must also increase," he said.
The South Pars/North Dome field is a natural gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf. It is the world's largest gas field, shared between Iran and Qatar.
According to the International Energy Agency, the field holds an estimated 1,800 trillion cubic feet (51 trillion cubic meters) of in-situ natural gas and some 50 billion barrels of natural gas condensate.