Thursday, December 23, 2004

Turkey says Iran resumes natural gas flow after technical cut

Turkey says Iran resumes natural gas flow after technical cut: "Turkey says Iran resumes natural gas flow after technical cut
AFP: 12/22/2004
ANKARA, Dec 22 (AFP) - Iran resumed the flow of natural gas to Turkey on Wednesday after a cut for technical reasons that lasted several days, Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said.

"A new pipeline has become operational in Iran. They (Iranian officials) said this was a problem. The cut was purely technical," Guler told the Anatolia news agency.

He said the flow of gas had resumed from Wednesday morning but in lower amounts than those agreed in a 1996 agreement between the two countries.

"They (Iranian officials) said they were working on the problem. I believe it will be resolved in one or two days," Guler said.

Media reports said Iran stopped sending gas to Turkey on Saturday after an exceptionally cold spell forced it to use domestically gas that was earmarked for Turkey.

The Turkey-Iran natural gas pipeline, which runs from the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz to Ankara, began pumping in December 2001, two years behind schedule because of construction delays on the Turkish side and subsequent wrangling between the two sides over technical matters.

The agreement, signed in August 1996 by Turkey's Islamist former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, has been criticized by the United States on grounds that it rivals a major project to carry natural gas from Turkmenistan to western markets via Turkey.

Under the 25-year deal, Turkey was scheduled to import four billion cubic meters (140 billion cubic feet) of gas from Iran in 2002 and the amount was projected to reach 10 billion cubic meters (350 billion cubic feet)in 2007."

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