Blast Halts Gas Flow to Turkey

Blast Halts Gas Flow to TurkeyBlast Halts Gas Flow to Turkey

The flow of Iranian natural gas to Turkey halted after an explosion hit a gas pipeline in Turkey, head of the gas measuring station at Bazargan border said on Friday.

According to Sadeq Akbarpour, on October 27, the pipeline was sabotaged about 12 kilometers inside Turkish territory, halting the flow in the 40-inch pipeline.

The blast caused a fire that was swiftly put out, he said, Shana reported.

An unnamed official at the National Iranian Gas Company also said that Iran can resume gas exports to Turkey once Botas, the country's gas importing company, says it is ready to receive gas. "Repairs are expected to be completed in seven days," the official said.

An unnamed Botas official who also spoke on condition of anonymity said repairs were underway but it was not clear when the gas flow would resume.

He added Turkey had not requested additional gas from other countries because of the explosion because there is no shortage in meeting domestic demand.

Sabotage is common on pipelines going into Turkey from Iran and Iraq, where the Kurdistan Workers' Party group or PKK is based. The outlawed PKK has waged an armed struggle against the Turkish state since 1984. Ankara has banned the Kurdish group as a terrorist organization.

Saboteurs attacked the same pipeline in Turkey's eastern province of Agri on July 28, halting the flow of gas for almost 10 days. Turkey buys around a quarter of its 40 billion cubic meters of piped natural gas imports per year from Iran, making its eastern neighbor the second biggest supplier after Russia. Natural gas is used for almost half of Turkey's electricity generation.

Turkey receives more than 90% of Iranian gas under a long-term contract, which amounts to around 10 billion cubic meters per annum.

   Rise in Export Capacity

 The infrastructure to double gas exports to Turkey is in place, including the installation of new electric motors at the Tabriz Natural Gas Compressor Station, deputy operations manager at NIGC said.

"The station's transfer capacity, which previously was 35 million cubic meters per day, has now doubled," Abdolhossein Samari added, noting that additional capacity can increase gas export to Turkey if the two sides reach a new agreement.

Iran reached a preliminary agreement with Turkey in June to increase gas supplies to the northwestern neighbor and also revise the undisclosed price of its gas.

The agreement was signed following lengthy disputes over gas pricing. Iran had said in April that it would not cut the price for exported gas to Turkey unless a new contract is signed based on which Ankara agrees to boost its gas intake in exchange.

In February, the International Court of Arbitration ruled for a 10-15% discount for Iranian gas supplied to Turkey during 2011-2015.

Some sources said in 2015 that Iran declined to make any cuts in the price of gas exports at the time and instead offered to open a new gas line to supply around 10 bcm at a cheaper price, which Ankara refused to accept.


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