Iran, Turkmenistan launch new gas pipeline

Up until now, Turkmenistan has operated a smaller pipeline to Iran with a capacity of 8 billion cubic metres a year.

Iran, Turkmenistan launch new gas pipeline

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday inaugurated a new gas pipeline link to Iran from its energy-rich neighbour Turkmenistan, which he said would take ties to a new level.

Together with a pipeline to China launched last month, the new link will enable Turkmenistan to ship more gas to Iran and China combined than to Russia's Gazprom which has dominated the region's market for decades.

"Two pipelines will be able to ship up to 20 billion cubic metres of gas," Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov told reporters at the Dovletabad gas field where the 31-kilometre link originates.

Up until now, Turkmenistan has operated a smaller pipeline to Iran with a capacity of 8 billion cubic metres a year.

It used to sell up to 50 bcm a year to Russia but supplies were halted for most of 2009 due to a pricing dispute and will fall to 30 bcm this year.

Last month, Turkmenistan launched a pipeline to China which would eventually ship up to 40 bcm of gas a year.

Iran uses Turkmen gas, also shipped in liquefied form by tankers over the Caspian, to supply its northern provinces and free up more of its own gas for exports.

"All countries in the region will benefit from this project," said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who also attended the ceremony in the windswept steppe.

The West is courting Turkmenistan to secure supplies for the EU-sponsored Nabucco pipeline prject, which would bypass Russia.

Ashgabat has expressed interest in supplying Nabucco but is yet to take any practical steps to join the project.



Agencies

Last Mod: 06 Ocak 2010, 13:42
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