Pipeline to end Iran’s need to import gas from Turkmenistan: Official

Shana- Managing director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araghi said launching of Damghan-Neka gas pipeline will end Iran’s need to import natural gas from Turkmenistan.

Araghi said Iran, however, will continue swapping gas with its northern neighbor with the aim of enhancing its relations with regional countries.

The pipeline which is about to officially come on-stream next week will supply 35 million cubic meters of natural gas per day to northern provinces of Iran.

“By launching the project, Iran will no longer be in need of importing gas from Turkmenistan and if Ashgabat decides to sever gas supply to Iran, the latter will be faced with no trouble to supply gas to its northern provinces,” the official added.

The NIGC chief further voiced Iran’s willingness to interact with its neighbors and remain engaged in gas swap with Turkmenistan.

The much-awaited gas pipeline 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 project has been given serious attention over the past six months after Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh issued an order to complete the pipeline to end reliance on Turkmenistan, which has repeatedly halted gas supply to Iran in the wintertime.

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

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, Tasnimnews reported.

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.