SOCAR to complete expansion of Astara gas compressor station by late 2010

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 28 / Trend E.Ismayilov /

The Sate Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) continues the work to expand the Astara gas compressor station (in the southern region of Azerbaijan) in an attempt to increase gas transportations to Iran, a source of oil and gas market said on Tuesday.

"The work to expand the station is underway and will be completed by late 2010," the source said.

Azerbaijani Industry and Energy Natig Aliyev said earlier that there are opportunities for exports of 350-500 million cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan to Iran. The gas will be supplied to meet the needs of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. However, Azerbaijan has the opportunity to carry out commercial supplies to Iran to meet the needs of the northern provinces of Iran.

The work is underway to increase the capacity of the existing gas infrastructure between the parties. Azerbaijan will be able to supply about 1 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Iran in the near future, he said.

Upon the completion of the works scheduled for the autumn, it is expected to conclude a contract for long-term supplies and increase up to 3-3.5 million cubic meters per day from the current 1.2 million cubic meters. Now Azerbaijan is supplying natural gas to Iran on the basis of swaps to cover the needs of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which is in blockade as a result of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

SOCAR is also working to achieve long-term contract with the Iranian side. However, even if there is demand for the supply of larger volumes of gas, absence of the necessary infrastructure does not allow achieving its goals. Today, the technical condition of transportation infrastructure between the two countries do not allow to transport large amounts of fuel in the southern direction, even the Iranian side voices intention to  buy up to five billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas per year.

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