Iran hits Turkmenistan with "gas ultimatum"

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 26

By Emil Ilgar – Trend:

Iran says that if Turkmenistan decreases its gas price for the Islamic Republic, Iran would resume gas import from this country, or else Tehran would sue Ashgabat for cutting gas deliveries in January 2017.

Turkmenistan stopped gas flow to Iran in January 2017 due to long-delayed $2 billion debt. Iran says the value of debt is less than what Turkmenistan claims.

The Deputy Petroleum Minister and Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamidreza Araghi said on May 26 that currently the gas swap operation between Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan continues, IRNA reported.

Turkmenistan has started gas swap with Azerbaijan since October 2016.

Turkmenistan delivers gas to Iran’a Qadr Company and Azerbaijan receives the same amount of gas on border with Iran, paying cash fee to the Islamic Republic. During 2016 Azerbaijan received more than 290 million cubic meters of gas from swap operations.

Previously, Araghi said that Iran would sue Turkmenistan for three disputes: gas price, damage from sudden gas export cut, as well as gas quality.

Araghi said that the documents would be submitted to The International Criminal Court (ICC) and Turkmenistan has already been informed about the issue.

Turkmenistan has been exporting gas to Iran under a 1997 agreement. During 2015, Turkmenistan doubled gas export to Iran to 9 billion cubic meters, but it again halved that in 2016 and stopped gas delivery on January 1, 2017.

Araghi said that Turkmenistan should compensate the damage to Iran, for cutting gas in winter. He didn’t mention how much Iran plans to put the fine value against Turkmenistan.

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