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Turkmenistan Halves Gas Exports to Iran

Monday 6 February 2012

(Mehr News Agency) – The Turkmen Gas Company has reduced to half its natural gas exports to Iran through Dowlatabad-Sarakhs (دولت آباد-سرخس) gas pipeline without prior notice.

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From the Iranian point of view, the pipeline is particularly attractive as it maximizes the profitability of Iranian gas, which is swapped for Turkmen gas sent west through the Turkish pipeline system. The Turkmen gas moves into Iran’s northern gas pipeline network to supply Iran and its other prospective customers.

An unnamed gas industry official was quoted by Mehr News Agency as saying on Sunday that the Turkmen Gas Company may further decrease gas exports to Iran, though it has given no clear reason for the reduction.

Meanwhile, Iran’s deputy oil minister and managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), Javad Oji (جواد اوجی) said on Sunday that extremely cold weather in Central Asia is the main reason for the reduction of the company’s gas exports to Iran. The official added that despite sharp reduction in Turkmen gas exports, no Iranian city or village has so far experienced disruption in gas supply.

Oji said domestic gas consumption in Iran has hit a new record in recent days and reached 551 million m³/day with 440 million m³/day consumed by houses, businesses and small industries.

Dowlatabad-Sarakhs gas pipeline was officially inaugurated last winter to increase Iran’s gas imports from Turkmenistan to 14 billion m³/year. Iran started importing gas from Turkmenistan in 1995 after the two sides signed a 25-year contract. The contract has bound Turkmenistan to gradually increase gas exports to Iran to 8 billion m³/year at a fixed price.

Iran ranks the second in the world in natural gas reserves after Russia with available gas reserves estimated at over 33 trillion m³. The country distributes the gas it imports from Turkmenistan to its north-eastern provinces, which are distant from Iran’s southern gas-rich regions.

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