Iran welcomes gas trade with Turkmenistan: NIGC head

TEHRAN, Aug. 24 (MNA) – The head of the National Iranian Gas Company Hassan Montazer Torbati expressed Iran’s willingness to resume gas trade with Turkmenistan.

“During the ICA ruling we expressed our interest to continue the import of Turkmenistan’s gas,” Montazar Torbati said on Monday on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of several major plans on the gas sector.

The official expressed hope that the two sides can resume their energy ties.

Iran and Turkmenistan had a dispute over gas trades, which was addressed by the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) earlier this year.

The dispute dates back to 2007 when Turkmengaz, the country’s national gas company, stopped gas supplies to Iran because the Central Asian state was gripped by unseasonably cold temperatures that year. 

Consequently, Turkmengaz increased its gas prices at least three times and Iran had no option but to agree to continue imports because the giant South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf was not ready and could not supply northern provinces namely Golestan, Gilan and Mazandaran, especially during the winter. Rising gas prices caused NIGC’s debt to pile up in the following years. In 2016 Turkmengaz halted gas supplies to Iran on claims that NIGC’s past gas dues should be paid immediately.

NIGC had imported about 23 mcm of gas per day from Turkmenistan before the dispute.

Iran's oil and gas industry, despite the strongest pressure and foreign sanctions, has not only successful in operation but also carried out development plans in the past years.

Speaking in an inaugural ceremony of three plans for the sixth and ninth gas transmission lines, 5 compressor stations, Bushehr petrochemical and the west of Karoun and accessories, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Iran's gas export capacity has increased to 80 million cubic meters per day.

During the same ceremony, Montazar Torbati said the sector has been vastly developed in the technological areas.

For instance, he said, the NIGC's dispatching management center is currently unparalleled in West Asia

Noting that it is up to the dispatching management center to decide how much gas any refinery should receive or through which pipeline, he said the center does all these by using state-of-the-art software programs and gas flow management systems.

MR/IRN83920922

News Code 162689

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