"The operations for the construction of Iran-Iraq gas pipeline is complete and we are now in the pre-startup tests phase after which the pipeline will be ready to initial test-run gas injection by early October," Qaribi told FNA on Saturday.
Asked about the date for the official start of Iran's gas supply to Iraq, he said, "As per the negotiations between Iran and Iraq, Iran's gas cannot be exported to Iraq under the current insecure conditions, hence it will be exported to Iraq early next year, yet this will be the senior officials who should make the final decision in this regard."
Last month, Qaribi announced that Iran had started pre-startup tests on the pipeline built to transport the country's natural gas to Iraq to feed the Arab country’s power plants.
"After the end of cleaning and calibration pigging, 97 kilometers (Iran’s section) of the pipeline will become operational,” Qaribi said.
He noted that the 97-kilometer pipeline, 48 inches in diameter, would be linked to Iran’s gas trunklines (IGATs) to deliver natural gas from Iran to Iraq.
Last week, an informed Iraqi source told FNA that the construction of Iran's gas pipeline to Iraq has been accomplished, and that the pipeline had been connected to the Arab country's Al-Mansoureh power plant.
"Iran's gas will be fed into Al-Mansoureh power plant once the pre-startup tests on the pipeline (built to transport natural gas to Iraq) are complete," an informed Iraqi source, who asked to remain unnamed, told FNA.
He said the supply of Iranian gas supplies should have already started, and explained that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist operations have caused the delay.
"We will be able to receive Iran's gas more safely due to the efforts of the (Iraqi) armed forces to get rid of the ISIL," he added.
Iran has agreed to export 25 million cubic meters (mcm) per day of gas to Iraq.
The 270-kilometer pipeline stretches from the village of Charmaleh, located in Iran’s Western province of Kermanshah, into the town of Naft Shahr on the border with Iraq.
The pipeline, which is estimated to earn Iran USD 3.7 billion a year in revenues, will be fed by the massive offshore South Pars gas field in the Southern Iran.
The pipeline will take Iran's gas from the country's South gas field phases in Southern Iran to the power plant in Iraq.
In December 2012, Iraqi energy expert Hossein al-Jawaheri told FNA that Baghdad has commissioned Iranian companies to construct a 270-kilometer gas pipeline from Iran to Iraq's al-Mansoureh power plant.