Gas pipeline inaugurated in northern Iran

3 Aug 2017   Iran

National Iranian Gas Co. said a natural gas pipeline able to lower reliance on former supplier Turkmenistan has been inaugurated in northern Iran.  Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh opened a 160-km, 42-in. pipeline that will carry gas from a connection at Damghan through Kiasar and Sari to Neka on the Caspian Sea. The gas will come from supergiant South Pars field in the Persian Gulf.  The pipeline’s capacity, according to Iranian Gas Engineering & Development Co., is 10 million cu m/day.  The pipeline will deliver gas to the Iranian provinces of Golestan, Mazandaran, and Gilan, which suffered last winter when Turkmenistan halted deliveries (OGJ, Jan. 4, 2017). The Turkmen foreign ministry said it suspended sales to force Iran to repay debt. NIGC called the move a violation of the countries’ agreement and complained the supplier had hiked the price. Iran received as much as 10 billion cu m/year of gas from Turkmenistan after its imports from the country started in 1997.  The Turkmen government has been hurt by declining gas prices and sales.  Gazprom stopped buying Turkmen gas early in 2016 because of a price dispute.  And Chinese purchases of Turkmen gas via three pipelines transiting Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have fallen below the government’s expectations.  Plans for a fourth pipeline between Turkmenistan and China, transiting Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, were suspended in March.

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