* Turkey says Iran should be included in Nabucco
* Qatar and Russia can take role in Nabucco
(Adds quotes, background)
ANKARA, July 13 Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan said on Monday Turkey wants Iranian gas to be
transported to Europe via the planned Nabucco pipeline "when
conditions allow", despite U.S. opposition.
European Union governments and Turkey will sign transit
agreements in Ankara on Monday for the EU and U.S.-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.
"We desire Iranian gas to be included in Nabucco when
conditions allow," Erdogan told a gathering of Nabucco partner
countries and regional countries including Iraq and Georgia.
United States special energy envoy Richard Morningstar on
Sunday reiterated Washington's opposition to the possible use of
Iranian gas in the Nabucco pipeline.
Transit countries Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and
Austria will sign the accord later on Monday, giving the 7.9
billion euro project a major political boost. But questions over
supply and financing still plague Nabucco's feasibility.
Erdogan also said Qatar could take a major role in the
project through a liquefied natural gas terminal in Turkey. He
also believes Russian gas can be transported to the European
markets via Nabucco.
The European Union has supported the project as a way of
reducing its reliance on Russian gas, with possible suppliers to
include Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkmenistan.
The Nabucco project has been unable to find sufficient
throughput for the 31 billion cubic metre pipeline, which is
competing with the rival Russian-backed South Stream project to
feed growing European consumption.
Predominantly Muslim Turkey, which aspires to join the
European Union, hopes Nabucco will strengthen its position as an
energy hub for the West and advance its EU bid.
(Reporting by Thomas Grove and Orhan Coskun; Editing by Ibon
Villelabeitia and Jon Boyle)