Afghanistan holding talks with Iran for major LPG trade boost
Tehran, Iran, June 23
By Temkin Jafarov, Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
A senior Afghan diplomat says Afghanistan is negotiating with Iran to purchase LPG.
Alhaj Abdolhadi Farhang, Afghan trade attaché in Iran told Trend June 23 that Afghanistan is procuring most of its need for LPG (Liquefied petroleum gas) from Turkmenistan, but wants to import from Iran in future as welll.
Azizolah Ramezani, director of the international affairs of the National Gas Company, recently said Iran has been holding talks with Afghanistan on gas export.
"The talks are on this year as well and we hope they will reach an outcome soon. Since the Afghan market is not ready for imports and they are entering the market for the first time, they are facing ambiguities," he said.
" Turkmenistan is a good partner for Afghanistan and most of our tradesmen are doing business with that country. They buy gas from there through tenders offered by the Turkmen Oil Ministry. They buy 20 to 30 thousand metric tons of gas in those tenders each time," Farhang said.
The diplomat added that Afghanistan has been buying gas oil and gasoline from Iran 's Shazand petrochemical complex for years.
"Now we are willing to buy LPG, too, from Iran. So far the purchase of LPG from Iran has not been considerable. Most of our purchases have been from Turkmenistan. Now, we are willing to buy LPG from Iran if prices are good," he noted.
Iran increased its LPG export hugely last Iranian fiscal year (which ended March 20). Customs reports say during the period Iran exported worth some $2.3 billion liquid propane and $1.5 billion liquid butane. In the first two months of the current Iranian year also, the export of LPG surpassed $510 million.
Iran also intends to increase its gas export to 200 mcm/d by 2020. But according to the Afghan diplomat, his country has so far held no talks with Iran on natural gas.
Farhang says that during a trip to Iran by Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, a joint committee was formed to pursue major economic cooperation projects between the two sides. Led by the Afghan Minister of Finance Omar Zakhilwal, the committee will explore different trade arenas and bring problems before the members to discuss.
According to Farhang, talks have been held with the Iranian Oil Ministry where it has been agreed that the Afghan Minister Commerce and Industries Anwar ul-Haq Ahady would make a trip to Iran to hold talks on oil products imports, fight against drug trafficking, as well as direct purchase of oil, gasoline, and gas oil by Afghan tradesmen.
"The joint committee will also study the import of oil products and LPG in a standard, positive, and long-term cooperation format. Right now if agreements are made, the purchased gas will be carried by trucks. But there is on agenda the plan that the joint committee should investigate if it would be profitable to transfer the gas via pipeline in the future," he added.
Edited by CN