Iran-Turkmenistan gas row: will there be winner?
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.31
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
Possible arbitration in the gas row between Iran and Turkmenistan will likely fail to satisfy any side, Bruce Pannier, US expert on Central Asia and energy issues, told Trend.
“The situation is clearly bad. I do not think either side really wishes to take this to arbitration, but both sides are insisting on holding to their positions. Turkmenistan wants the money and Iran feels Turkmenistan took advantage of Iran some 10 years ago when the weather was extremely cold,” he added.
Pannier believes that it is in the best interests of both countries to resolve this issue quickly, but more than one year on since the cut-off, it seems the dispute will drag on for some time yet.
“If Ashgabat and Tehran cannot come to an agreement before this winter ends, it is quite possible Iran will never purchase gas from Turkmenistan again and, more importantly, will not agree to allow Turkmen gas to transit Iranian territory in the future,” noted the expert.
As for international arbitration, Pannier said he doesn’t think anyone in arbitration court really would want to hear this case and make any decision.
“If both sides go to arbitration, I think it will be a long process that would eventually result in decisions that fail to satisfy either Turkmenistan or Iran, for example, Iran would have to pay some of the money Turkmenistan claims it is owed,” he added.
Earlier, Tehran expressed readiness to file a case with the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) over the quality and price of gas it receives from Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan stopped gas exports to Iran in January 2017, saying it was owed $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion for gas it had delivered to Iran.
Iran, which disputes the claim, has imported Turkmen gas since 1997 to supply its northern region, especially in winter, even though it has large gas fields in the south of the country.