07/25/2011 07:18 EDT | Updated 09/24/2011 05:12 EDT

Iran Signs $10 Billion Gas Deal With Syria, Iraq


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- TEHRAN, Iran - Iran has signed a preliminary $10 billion deal with Syria and Iraq to export its natural gas.

State television said under the memorandum of understanding signed Monday by the three countries' oil ministers, a 5,000 kilometre (3,100 mile) pipeline will be built to carry gas from the giant South Pars field.

The gas would be moved through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Mediterranean, with Europe planned as the final export destination.

Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji says the field has enough reserves to feed exports for the next 80 years, at a rate of 250 million cubic meters per day. The project is slated to take three to five years.

Iran sits atop 28 trillion cubic meters of gas -- the second largest reserves in the world.