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Pipeline explosion halts gas flow from Iran to Turkey

TEHRAN, Sept. 10 (Mehr News Agency) - Iran's gas export to Turkey, due to a pipeline explosion on neighboring state's soil, has stopped since Sunday night, Deputy Petroleum Minister for Gas Affairs Seyyed Reza Kassaeizadeh told MNA here on Monday.

An explosion rocked a gas pipeline in the northeast of Turkey that supplies the country with gas from Iran, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The explosion took place near the town of Dogubeyazit in the province of Agri, which borders Iran. It caused a fire that burned itself out some 20 minutes later, Atay Uslu, an assistant to the deputy police chief of Dogubeyazit, told the news agency.

"An inquiry is underway. We think the explosion was caused by a technical fault," said Uslu, adding repair work to the pipeline had started.

He was unable to specify when deliveries of gas would resume.

Turkey imports Iranian gas for domestic consumption via the pipeline, which links the town of Tabriz, northwestern Iran, to Ankara.

Iran and Turkey signed a 25-year, $30 billion contract in 1996.

The contract went into effect on December 10, 2001 and Iran has exported 20.74 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey since then.

The figure stood at 18.8 billion cubic meters until the end of the past Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2007), 1.7 billion cubic meters of which pertained to the first quarter of the current year, according to PIN.

... Payvand News - 9/11/07 ... --

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