Iran will soon double its gas imports from Turkmenistan as the two energy-rich nations seek to rebuild ties that were once affected by arrears.
Reza Noshadi, a senior official at the National Iranian Gas Company, said on Wednesday that Iran’s gas imports from Turkmenistan will soon double to 20 million cubic meters (mcm) per day.
Noshadi said Iran currently imports 10 mcm per day of gas from Turkmenistan under a swap deal that also involves Azerbaijan.
He added that under a new agreement, Iran will soon begin to import another 10 mcm per day of natural gas from Turkmenistan without accepting any swap commitments and only for domestic consumption in its north and northeastern regions.
“Thus 20 mcm of gas provides a good capacity for trade between the two countries and we expect that this cooperation will continue and contracts and memoranda of understanding for petroleum cooperation between Iran and Turkmenistan will increase,” said Noshadi.
Iran and Turkmenistan are two major global gas suppliers. Cooperation between the two countries stalled for a period last decade over disputes on settlement of Iran’s energy arrears to Turkmenistan.
Iranian Oil minister Javad Owji said on Tuesday that Iran had fully settled a gas debt of $1.6 billion to Turkmenistan to enable the two countries to re-engage in gas trade projects.
The announcement on double increase in Iranian gas imports from Turkmenistan came as top Turkmen official Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was in Tehran for talks with senior Iranian officials.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Syyed Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with Berdimuhamedow on Wednesday that Iran and Turkmenistan were "like a family" as he voiced support for increased energy cooperation with Iran’s northeastern neighbor.