Reuters: Iran would accept a "logical increase" in the price of natural gas imported from neighbouring Turkmenistan, a senior energy official was quoted as saying on Saturday.
TEHRAN, April 19 (Reuters) – Iran would accept a "logical increase" in the price of natural gas imported from neighbouring Turkmenistan, a senior energy official was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Turkmenistan halted its gas deliveries of up to 23 million cu metres a day to Iran in late December, citing technical issues. Iran says the real aim was to raise the price.
"If Turkmenistan wants a logical increase in the price of gas it is okay with Iran because this country is selling its gas to Russia with a new price," the Fars News Agency quoted Ali Kordan, vice-minister at Iran's Oil Ministry, as saying.
Turkmenistan sells most of its gas to Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom. Gazprom last month said it had agreed to buy gas from the ex-Soviet states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan at prices close to that it charges European customers, minus transport and other costs.
In early April, another Iranian energy official said negotiations between Iran and Turkmenistan were continuing and that he believed the gas imports from Turkmenistan would soon resume.
Iran sits on the world's second-largest gas reserves but has been slow to develop exports, partly because of U.S. sanctions. It has imported some gas from Turkmenistan which mainly helps supply an area in north Iran far from the main national grid.
Iran previously asked Turkmenistan to let it pay in euros when supplies resume, part of a bid to reduce reliance on the dollar because of U.S. sanctions. Tehran said Ashgabat had given provisional approval.
Shortly after Turkmenistan cut the supplies, in the depths of Iran's coldest winter in decades, Iran accused Turkmenistan of an "immoral" act and warned it could stop buying supplies if they were not resumed.
But analysts say Iran, which has long sought to promote itself as a transit point for gas from Central Asia, wants to keep the trade going.
(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)