TEHRAN (FNA)- Ankara has shown much interest in increasing the volume of its gas imports from Iran, a senior energy official announced on Wednesday.
“Turkey has asked Iran to increase the volume of its gas supplies to that country,” Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Mansour Moazami said on Wednesday.
He noted Iran is planning to export gas to Oman and also other countries interested in have supplies from Iran.
Moazami pointed to Iran’s gas exports to Iraq, and said, “Because of Iraq’s (unfavorable) conditions, we could not export gas to that country in the current year, but we will begin gas exports next year.”
Under a contract signed in 1996, Turkey imports 10 billion cubic meters per year of gas from Iran. The contract became active in 2001. Turkey depends on imports for almost all of its natural gas needs, estimated to hit 52 billion cubic meters this year.
Turkey is keen to increase oil and gas imports from Tehran in anticipation of sanctions against Iran’s huge energy sector being dismantled in the wake of an interim nuclear deal last year between Tehran and six big powers.
In July, former Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Ali Majedi underlined that Ankara was holding talks with Tehran to increase the volume of its gas imports irrespective of the two countries’ row over the volume of earlier supplies.
“The result of the arbitration might be announced in a six-month time, but the two countries’ negotiations over increasing Iran’s gas supplies to Turkey might end in result prior to that date, meaning that Iran might increase its gas exports to Turkey before the court ruling is issued, which shows that the current negotiations are not related to the two countries’ row,” Majedi told FNA at the time.
On January 30, 2014, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that his country could double the amount of natural gas it imports from Iran if the two countries can agree on a price.
However, Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araqi said that Iran would not decrease the price of the natural gas it exports to Turkey under the current agreement.
“We can increase the amount of Iran’s gas exports to Turkey under a new agreement,” Araqi said.
In May, Majedi underlined that the Turkish pipeline could be the best option for the European countries to import Iran’s natural gas.
“Iran can export natural gas to Europe through three different ways, including via the Turkish pipeline which is considered the most cost-effective route under the current circumstances,” Majedi told FN A at the time.
The plan to transit Iran’s gas to Europe through Turkey came after the failure of negotiations on the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline, which prompted some European companies to officially ask for importing Iran’s natural gas.
The Nabucco pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline which starts from Turkey’s Erzurum to end in Austria’s Baumgarten an der March and aims to reduce Europe’s gas dependence on Russia.
In September 2012, Iran announced that the necessary grounds had been paved for the export of the country’s gas supplies to the European countries via Turkey, despite the then new EU sanctions against Tehran.
“In addition to the agreement signed for the export of gas to Pakistan and Iraq, the needed agreement to export gas to Europe via Turkey has also been received,” former Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi said at the time.
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