08/10/2009, 00.00
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More Turkmen gas for Iran, less for Europe

Turkmenistan plans to sell Iran 14 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year. Iran is willing to pay market prices. The two countries have recently shown to share common goals, for example over the Caspian Sea’s mineral riches.
Ashgabat (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Turkmenistan is planning to increase the amount of natural gas it exports to Iran from 8 to 14 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year. Iran, despite its huge oil and gas reserves, is hard pressed to develop them and so has opted to buy gas from abroad.

A new pipeline from the eastern Turkmen town of Devletabat to Iran will have a capacity of 12.5 bcm of gas per year and should be completed later this year.

Iran and Turkmenistan are also committed to increase the quantity of Turkmen gas exported to Iran to 20 bcm in the future.

Press reports also indicate that Iran is ready to spend more in an attempt to block European access to Turkmen gas.

Analysts suggest that the good relationship between the two countries is behind the current spat between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

In a recent statement the Turkmen government blamed Azerbaijan for the unresolved status of the division of mineral rights in the Caspian Sea. It recently said that it plans to take its dispute with Azerbaijan to the International Court of Arbitration in Paris and to the United Nations General Assembly when it reconvenes in September.

However, Turkmenistan’s deals have left many experts wonder about the effective size of Turkmen deposits, which local authorities claim to be huge, but which have never been probed by foreign parties.

Turkmenistan has also reached a number of deals with China and will begin exporting 30 bcm by the end of the year, while the planned Turkmen contribution of 10 bcm to the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline project is only in the planning stages.

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