Iran is likely to fine Turkmenistan for gas cutoff

Turkmenistan Materials 2 May 2012 13:05 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 1/Trend M. Moezzi

While Turkmenistan and Iran are negotiating about increasing gas imports from Turkmenistan, Iranian officials are considering the issue of fining their neighbor for cutting off its gas supply, Mehr news agency reports.

In early February, during the coldest days of winter, Iran's gas imports from Turkmenistan decreased unexpectedly as the Turkmengaz Company halved the gas it supplies to Iran to some 10 million cubic meters.

If the service cut off wasn't caused by technical or operational problems, then Iran will ask for penalties as stipulated in its contract, Deputy Oil Minister, Javad Owji, said.

Tehran and Ashgabat are in the midst of negotiations to increase the ceiling for Iran's gas imports to 20 billion cubic meters (bcm). With its northern and northeastern pipelines completely operational, Iran doesn't need to import any gas from Turkmenistan.

Last year Tehran imported 11.8 bcm of gas while exporting 9.5 bcm to its neighbors. By 2014, the end of its Fifth Five-Year Plan, Iran expects to claim at least 10 percent of the world's trade in gas.