Turkish gas firm pays Iran $600m fine

Turkey's BOTAS Petroleum Pipeline Corporation has paid the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) a fine of about $600 million for import of natural gas at a rate smaller than was previously agreed between the two companies.

Under the contract, Turkey had to import 30 million cubic meters of Iranian gas per day. However, during the past Iranian calendar year (ended March 20) BOTAS averagely imported 25 million cubic meters per day, the Mehr News Agency reported.

Iran exported total amount of 6.8 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey during the past year.

15 years ago, BOTAS and NIGC signed a contract for 23 years. Under the contract, Turkey had to import from Iran 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.

Tehran and Ankara inked a 1 billion euro ($1.29 billion) contract to build a pipeline that will transfer Iran's natural gas to Turkey in July.

The contract was signed on the sidelines of Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi's meeting with Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz.

National Iranian Gas Company's Managing Director Javad Owji and Turkey's BOTAS Petroleum Pipeline Corporation Managing Director Fazil Senel signed the contract.

Based on the agreement, the Turkish side will secure 77 percent of the required fund for completing the 660- kilometer pipeline.

It is the 4th section of Iran's sixth cross-country pipeline which extends from Assalouyeh, southwest of the country, to Bazargan border in the northwest.

In October 2009, during Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Tehran, the two countries signed memorandums of understanding on oil and gas cooperation and transferring Iran's gas to European markets through Turkey.

Iran has the world's second largest gas reserves and third largest oil reserves.

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