Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran
has signed a deal to boost annual gas imports from Turkmenistan by about 40
percent to 14 billion cubic meters, the deputy oil minister said on Thursday.
"Under the new deal we predict the daily imports to reach 40 million cubic meters by winter," Javad Owji was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.
Despite having the world's second largest gas reserves, Iran currently imports 25 million cubic meters of gas a day from Turkmenistan.
On June 16, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov met in Ashgabat with Iran Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi and Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Javad Owji.
"During the meeting the sides confirmed willingness of both Turkmenistan and Iran to continue negotiations based on mutual interests, above all in the oil and gas sector. In this context, a number of issues related to supplies of Turkmen gas to Iran were discussed.
On the same day, the NIGC head held talks at Turkmengaz state concern. Following the talks, the sides signed a supplementary agreement to the existing contract for the supply of Turkmen gas to the neighboring country.
Under the agreement, additional volumes of natural gas will be
exported to Iran via the recently commissioned second gas pipeline
Dovletabat-Sarakhs-Hangeran. To this end, the document provides for joint work
at a level of experts of the two countries to draft a contract for additional
sale of Turkmen gas with the prospect of further increasing of these volumes.
Iran's northern neighbor cut its gas exports to the Islamic republic for several months in the winter of 2007-2008 over what it said were payment delays and technical issues.
The domestic shortages have underlined the problems of the gas industry in Iran, which cannot develop its gas fields due to a lack of foreign investment and technology even though its reserves are second only to Russia.
In January, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated a new gas pipeline link to Iran from Turkmenistan, which would raise the supply of Turkmen gas to Iran to 20 billion cubic meters annually.
The 30.5-kilometre (19-mile) pipeline from Turkmenistan's southeast Dovletabat field would supply Iran's Khangiran gas refinery initially with 6 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
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