Turkish Minister Sees Iran Gas Supplies Resuming Next Week

A00234351.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said Thursday that he expects Iran to resume gas exports by next week, ending a two-week cut forced by cold weather and a consumption crunch in Turkey’s eastern neighbor.

“Our friends (Iran) are working on this issue. The pressure (in the pipeline) increases from time to time and then decreases,” Guler told the NTV news channel. “But I believe gas will flow again next week.”

Iran interrupted the gas flow to Turkey on January 7, six days after it had to slash its exports to this country from 20 mln cubic meters (706 mln cubic feet) a day to 5.0 mln cubic meters (177 mln cubic feet).

In addition to the cold snap in Iran that peaked domestic consumption, Turkmenistan also stopped sending gas to the Islamic republic.

Turkey in turn was forced to stop its gas exports to western neighbor Greece and increase its imports from Russia.

Guler said Ankara and Tehran were planning to build a second pipeline to bypass Iranian cities, which are also supplied by the existing conduit between the two countries.

“But this is a long-term idea,” Guler said.

Turkey has been buying gas from Iran via a pipeline from the northwestern city of Tabriz to Ankara since December 2001 under a deal that raised eyebrows in the United States.

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