Iran to resume natural gas exports to Turkey ‘in a few days’

By RIA Novosti

Ankara/Athens : Turkish television said on Wednesday that Iran would resume natural gas deliveries to Turkey within a few days following a halt in supplies earlier this week.

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On Monday, Turkey’s NTV television station quoted the country’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Guler as saying that Iran had suspended supplies of natural gas to Turkey due to a cold weather front which had brought a sharp fall in temperatures, as well as rain and snow, to the region.

“Natural gas deliveries will resume in a few days, and the volumes will gradually increase,” the station said.

Under a contract signed in 1996, Iran is obliged to ensure daily supplies of 28 million cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey via a 2,500-km (8,200 feet) pipeline connecting the two countries.

Iran has in the past halted natural gas deliveries to Turkey several times during the winter months, citing increased domestic demand.

Turkey has never built domestic fuel storage facilities and always compensated for a shortage of exports from Iran with additional supplies from Russia and other countries.

On Wednesday, the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet cited sources in the BOTAS Petroleum Pipeline Corporation as saying that Russian natural gas supplies to Turkey had declined by 30% recently. Representatives of the Turkish state-owned crude oil and natural gas pipelines and trading company did not rule out that the country might face an energy crisis in the event of worsening weather conditions.

Turkish media said Ankara was seeking to increase imports of liquefied natural gas from Algeria and Nigeria, a move Cumhuriyet described as economically inefficient, however.

The paper also reported that Turkey’s Foreign Ministry and intelligence service had repeatedly warned the country’s authorities of Iran’s plans to halt supplies. However, Energy Ministry officials said the country had enough gas in stock and that the situation was under control.

“We are prepared for any scenarios, including the most unfavorable,” Energy Ministry Undersecretary Selahattin Cimen told journalists.

Turkish press reported that the country has a month’s worth of gas in stock and that Turkey has stopped the transit of Azeri gas to Greece pending the resumption of the Iranian supplies.

A spokesperson for Public Gas Supply Corporation of Greece (DEPA) confirmed on Wednesday that gas deliveries from Turkey had been halted.