Iran continues gas imports from Turkmenistan

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.1/ Trend R.Zamanov

Iran continues to import gas from Turkmenistan based on a new agreement, the Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Company Hamidreza Araqi said on Tuesday.

"There is no problem with regard to money transfers," the Fars News Agency quoted Araqi as saying.

"Iran's domestic gas consumption in winter rises seven-fold compared to summer, so we are making arrangements to provide households with enough gas during the cold months," he added.

The Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said that during his last month visit to Ashgabat, he negotiated with Turkmen officials on the two countries gas deal.

"We didn't discuss any new contract, but negotiated details in the previously signed contract," the IRNA News Agency quoted Zanganeh as saying.

"We intend to resume gas imports from Turkmenistan in exchange for exporting technical and engineering services to our northern neighbour," he added.

Abdol-Hamid Asadian, head of the Trade Promotion Organisation's bureau for Europe and Americas said in March that Iran buys about $3 billion of natural gas from Turkmenistan a year, Bloomberg reported.

The report didn't provide details of the arrangement.

The nation, holder of the world's second largest gas deposits, imported 12 billion cubic meters from Turkmenistan in the Iranian calendar year of 1390, ended March 20, 2012.

However the figure fell to 4.5 billion cubic meters in the previous calendar year ended March 20.

The Mehr News Agency reported last December that Iran owes one billion dollars to Turkmenistan over gas imports.

Tightening banking and energy sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme have complicated financial transactions with the Persian Gulf country.

New U.S. sanctions that came into force last month aim to make buyers of Iranian oil pay in their local currencies with the funds kept in escrow accounts and available for Iran-only to buy locally sourced goods and services.

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