Iran, Armenia in Energy Export Talks

Iran, Armenia in Energy Export TalksIran, Armenia in Energy Export Talks

Iran and Armenia on Tuesday explored grounds for increasing electricity exchange in what was described by both sides as an effort to help promote economic and political stability in the region.

"Iran and Armenia have different seasons of peak electricity demand. We are ready to export electricity to Armenia in winter and import it when domestic demand soars in summer," Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian was quoted as saying by IRNA in a meeting with Levon Yolyan, Armenia's energy minister in Tehran on Tuesday.

"Our declared policy in the region is expansion of political and economic ties and we have a positive outlook about our relations with Armenia," the minister said.  He also referred to plans to increase gas trade and the third power transmission line between the two countries which is under construction.

Iran and Armenia are already connected by two power transmission lines.

  Linking Power Grids

The two nations are part of a plan to synchronize their power grids with Russia and Georgia.

In a conference in Yerevan last year, the four countries signed a memorandum of understanding to connect their electricity grids by 2019.

"The important aspect in connecting the four power networks is enhancing transmission capacity between Armenia and Georgia. We hope that Iranian companies will play a role in this," Chitchian had said then.

He is of the opinion that synchronization of Iran and Armenia's power networks will be a cornerstone of the plan.

The synchronization project is seen as building block of a highly ambitious plan to build a major power network in the Caspian Sea region that would enable more than 30 countries to exchange electricity.

The idea for the so-called Caspian Energy Network was initially proposed by the National Iranian Gas Company in a conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan two years ago, where Tehran pushed for closer  energy cooperation in the region.

The proposal was later developed into a plan to form a regional power network. It is aimed at using Iran's immense natural gas resources to boost power generation and export, and establish a far-reaching network that will improve power stability in the region.

Chitchian also said that the time is appropriate for Tehran and Yerevan to expand cooperation in transportation, tourism and road construction.

  Gas Talks

In a meeting with Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh earlier in the day, Yolyan discussed the prospect of raising gas imports from Iran to more than 3 million cubic meters per day by 2018 from the present 1 mcm/d.

The two sides also exchanged views about establishing a joint venture for transferring Iran's gas to Georgia, among other destinations, through Armenia.

In 2004, Tehran signed a 20-year contract with Yerevan to export gas to its northern neighbor. Based on the agreement, Iran's natural gas is used by Armenian power plants to generate electricity, which is then exported to Iran.

The cross-border gas pipeline was commissioned in 2007 and exports began in mid 2009.