Germany’s RWE has signed an agreement with Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to help it to develop and design its domestic and export gas transportation infrastructure.

The cooperation agreement also foresees the negotiation of gas supply agreements to enable as much as 20 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year of natural gas from the region to be transported to Turkey and Europe via the planned Nabucco pipeline, the company announced in a 27 August statement.

“The location of gas reserves in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq makes them ideally placed to gain access to the secure and profitable European gas market”, says Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami.

“Transporting this gas – up to 20 bcm a year – through the Nabucco pipeline is a priority for us and will also serve to cement our already good relations with Europe and Turkey”.

Planned for operation in 2014, the 3,000-kilometre Nabucco pipeline will carry as much as 31 bcm a year from Turkey to Western Europe.

The consortium behind pipeline includes Austria’s OMV, Romania’s Transgaz, Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz, Hungary’s MOL, Turkey’s Botas and RWE.

Earlier this week the consortium announced that it had abandoned plans to source gas from Iran due to international sanctions and would instead focus on developing pipelines from from Georgia and Iraq.

Iraq’s Oil Ministry has previously criticised deals between the KRG and energy producers to supply to the Nabucco pipeline, without the approval of Baghdad. The UAE’s Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas signed a deal May 2009 with OMV and MOL for fast-tracking the development of the Khor Mor gas field in Kurdistan. The Oil Ministry says it cannot export the gas without their approval (MEED 18:5:09).