Turkey hopeful on resolution of gas price row with Iran

Oct 28, 2004 02:00 AM

Turkey's Energy Minister said he expected talks for a discount in the price of natural gas his country is buying from neighbouring Iran to reach a positive outcome by the end of the year.
"The talks are going on in an atmosphere of understanding... I believe we will reach a positive outcome by the end of the year," Hilmi Guler told.

Turkey demanded a renegotiation of its 1996 natural gas deal with Iran in October 2003, saying that it was paying too much. Tehran first threatened to take the dispute to an international court, but then agreed to negotiations with Ankara.
The Turkish-Iranian natural gas pipeline, which runs from the north-western Iranian city of Tabriz to Ankara, started pumping in December 2001, two years behind schedule because of delays in the construction on Turkish territory and subsequent wrangling between the two sides over technical matters.

The deal, signed in August 1996 by the government of Turkey's former Islamist prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, has been criticized by the United States on the grounds that it rivalled a major project to carry natural gas from Turkmenistan to western markets via Turkey.
Under the 25-year deal, Turkey was supposed to import 4 bn cm (140 bn cf) of gas in 2002 and the amount was planned to reach 10 bn in 2007.

Ankara had already secured a discount in the price following negotiations in 2002, when it suspended imports for several months, citing the poor quality of the gas.
Turkey has so far imported 6.1 mm cm of gas from Iran, according to official figures available as of June 2004.

Source: IranMania
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