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Turkmenistan intends to further export natural gas to Iran

1 February 2017 14:10 (UTC+04:00)
Turkmenistan intends to further export natural gas to Iran

By Kamila Aliyeva

Turkmenistan along with offering the resumption of negotiations with Iran over gas exports, has recently proposed a 10-million-cubic-meters rise in its gas swap through Iran, Fars reported

“Turkmenistan proposed to increase its current level of gas swap through Iran to 15 mcm; Azerbaijan and Armenia are the destination for new volumes,” Saied Mo’meni an official in National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), told Fars on January 31.

The dispute between Iran and Turkmenistan over outstanding debts for previous natural gas sales has reached its peak when Tehran announced intention to sue Ashgabat. But later the country refused the step.

Expert Rovshan Ashirov believes that the Iranian side made the right choice by suspending the judicial proceedings with the Turkmen side, Trend reported.

As of January 1, Turkmenistan cut gas supply to the Islamic Republic for the delayed payment.

The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) claimed that Turkmengaz, the Turkmen state gas company, had cut gas supplies to Iran — violating a 20-year-old gas deal.

The company said that Iran has fully settled its debts to the Turkmen side and that talks had begun on settling of delayed debts. The Iranians also claimed there have been “quality and quantity loses in the deal.”

Later, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry issued statement noting that NIGC had stopped paying its arrears for gas deliveries since 2013.

“As a result, Iran’s debts accumulated substantially, creating problems in the routine operations of Turkmen gas transportation infrastructure required to deliver gas to Iran in accordance with the long-term contract,” the statement said.

Tehran said in December that Turkmenistan had threatened to stop gas exports because of arrears, which amounted to about $1.8 billion and dated back more than a decade.

Iran has major natural gas fields in the south but has imported gas from Turkmenistan since 1997 for distribution in its northern provinces, especially during the winter.

Among the Central Asian countries, Turkmenistan has the largest natural gas reserves and the world’s sixth largest reserves that amount 13.7 tcm.

Besides Iran, Turkmenistan also annually exports about 30-35 billion cubic meters of gas per year to China. The country earlier also exported gas to Russia, but the latter ceased supplies back in January 2016 .

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