Reuters: Turkmenistan has reduced its gas deliveries to neighbouring Iran by 50 percent since Saturday, blaming it on technical and operational factors, an official at Iran’s national gas company was quoted as saying on Sunday. TEHRAN, Dec 30 (Reuters) – Turkmenistan has reduced its gas deliveries to neighbouring Iran by 50 percent since Saturday, blaming it on technical and operational factors, an official at Iran’s national gas company was quoted as saying on Sunday.
“Since yesterday about 50 percent of the gas imported from Turkmenistan, which equals 5 percent of (Iran’s) needed gas, has been cut,” the ISNA news agency quoted the official as saying.
“Turkmenistan has announced that the reason for this decrease in gas exports to Iran is technical and operational issues,” the official at the National Iranian Gas Company, identified only by his surname Ramezani, said.
But Ramezani also raised the possibility that a future gas price rise could be an underlying factor, adding in the ISNA report: “… one of the reasons for this cut could be a warning about a rise of gas prices, but not necessarily.”
Iran imports about 10 million cubic metres of gas from Turkmenistan every day, he said, without making clear if this was before or after the cut in deliveries.
A report from another Iranian news agency, Fars, suggested it may be the amount after the reduction in sales.
It quoted the general director of the gas company as saying Iran imported between 23 million and 24 million cubic metres from its Caspian Sea neighbour every day.
“Since … yesterday morning the gas imported from Turkmenistan was cut,” the director, Reza Kasaizadeh, told Fars. “Based on the announcement of this country, due to some repairs the imports of gas from this country has been cut.”
Kasaizadeh urged people to save at least 10 percent of the gas they consumed to make up for the shortage.
Iran sits atop the world’s second-largest gas reserves after Russia. But sanctions, politics and construction delays have slowed its gas development, and analysts say the country is unlikely to become a major exporter for a decade.
Competition between the West, China and Russia for access to Turkmen gas has intensified since the death of Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov last December.
Earlier this month Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan signed a deal to build a pipeline that will allow Moscow to keep Central Asian gas flows to the West under its control for years to come. (Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Sue Thomas)