New pipeline to guarantee steady supply of gas in north Iran

Tasnim– A much-awaited gas pipeline in Iran’s northern areas, which will come on stream next week, is going to guarantee the steady supply of natural gas to the regions that experienced harsh winters in the past when neighboring Turkmenistan cut off gas supplies to Iran.

The major project to lay more than 100 kilometers of natural gas pipeline between Damghan in the province of Semnan and Neka in the Caspian province of Mazandaran will be completed next week.

The project has been given serious attention over the past six months after Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh issued an order to complete the pipeline to end reliance on Turkmenistan, which has repeatedly halted gas supply to Iran in the wintertime.

Officials say the new pipeline will obviate the northern provinces’ need for Turkmen gas.

The Damghan-Neka pipeline would overcome the shortage of gas in the provinces of Semnan, Golestan, Mazandaran, North Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi, and South Khorasan, an energy official said.

The pipeline will provide the province of Mazandaran with 30 million cubic meters of gas round the clock, ensuring a steady supply of gas even in freezing temperatures.

Last winter, Turkmenistan breached a deal with Iran by cutting gas supplies. On January 1, Turkmens cut off gas supplies to Iran, saying Tehran should clear its outstanding debts.

Iran has imported natural gas from Turkmenistan since 1997 for distribution in the north of the country, furthest from the gas resources in the south.

Turkmens occasionally raise their prices in the wintertime. In a harsh winter in 2006, Turkmenistan cut off gas shipments and demanded a nine-fold price increase.