Azerbaijan, Baku, March 9 / Trend E.Ismayilov /
Commercial gas deliveries to Iran under the short-term contract signed between the The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) will be launched in late March, a senior representative of SOCAR said today.
"Currently, the pipeline is under reconstruction," the source said. " It is planned to launch gas supplies to Iran in late March."
SOCAR is likely to complete work on the reconstruction of compressor station in Astara and replace 60 km of the Gazi-Magomed-Astara pipeline to increase gas supplies to Iran by late fall, SOCAR Head Rovnag Abdullayev said previously. After the realization of all these activities, Azerbaijan may daily pump five million cubic meters of gas to Iran. SOCAR is ready to increase gas pumping to Iran in the future, if there is demand.
Azerbaijan and Iran are connected with the Gazi-Magomed-Astara-Bind-Biand gas pipeline, 1,474.5-kilometers long. Its capacity was 10 billion cubic meters a year, but now it is lower. This route is a branch of the Gazakh-Astara-Iran pipeline commissioned in 1971. Three compressor stations -Gazi-Magomed, Aghdash and Gazakh -were built.
SOCAR and NIGEC signed a short-term contract for gas supplies to Iran in January. The contract envisages supplying Azerbaijani gas to Iran until March-April of 2010; totaling about 100 million cubic meters (1.2 million cubic meters of gas per day). Supplies will be delivered to the northern Iranian regions, which are isolated from the main gas fields.
Earlier, SOCAR mentioned its intention to build a new pipeline to export gas to Iran. Presently, work on a new Sangachal-Azadkend-Astara pipeline is underway. It is expected that construction of the new pipeline will begin in 2010.
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