Iran General NewsIran agrees to raise Turkmen gas price

Iran agrees to raise Turkmen gas price

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ImageReuters: Iran has accepted to raise the price of natural gas it imports from neighbouring Turkmenistan, a senior Iranian official told the semi-official Mehr news agency on Friday.

By Marat Gurt and Zahra Hosseinian

ImageASHGABAT/TEHRAN, April 25 (Reuters) – Iran has accepted to raise the price of natural gas it imports from neighbouring Turkmenistan, a senior Iranian official told the semi-official Mehr news agency on Friday.

"Iran has accepted to increase the price of gas it imports from Turkmenistan," said Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Reza Kasaizadeh, refusing to reveal the price.

Turkmenistan resumed gas supplies to Iran on Friday, ending months of closed-door wrangling over prices that has soured relations between the neighbours.

Central Asia's top gas exporter halted daily deliveries of up to 23 million cubic metres to Iran in late December, citing technical issues. Iran has said the aim was to raise the gas price and criticised Turkmenistan as an unreliable supplier.

On Friday, Mohammad Reza Forghani, Iran's ambassador to Turkmenistan, told Iran's official IRNA news agency that supplies resumed on Friday morning.

Separately, an Iranian embassy official told Reuters the deal was reached during a Thursday meeting between Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Kasaizadeh.

"The original volume will be reached step by step," the official said on condition of anonymity. He added that the price was set "in accordance with international standards."

Former Soviet Turkmenistan has pursued an increasingly assertive regional diplomacy since Berdymukhamedov came to power in 2006 following decades of isolationist rule by his absolutist predecessor.

Turkmenistan, which exports most of its gas via Russia's Gazprom, teamed up with neighbouring Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan last month to start charging Russia higher prices for their gas from next year.

Turkmenistan's decision to stop supplies to Iran at the height of a record-cold winter angered Iran, which described the move as "immoral." The impact of the row was felt in other countries too, as Iran cut exports to Turkey, which in turn cut supplies to Greece.

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 gas from Turkmenistan which mainly helps supply an area in northern Iran far from the Iranian main national grid.

As the dispute unfolded, Iran asked Turkmenistan to let it pay in euros when supplies resume, part of a bid to reduce reliance on the dollar because of the U.S. sanctions.

Tehran said in February Ashgabat had given provisional approval, but there was no word on the nature of the final agreement from the Turkmen side on Friday. (Writing by Maria Golovnina and Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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