Tehran planning gas talks with Azerbaijan

TEHRAN, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Planned talks with Azerbaijan in early 2011 will focus on increasing the amount of natural gas imports, an Iranian energy official said.

Asghar Sohilipour, a trading executive at the National Iranian Gas Co., told the Oil Ministry's Petroenergy Information Network that talks in early 2011 would highlight prices and the volume of natural gas from Azerbaijan.


He said Tehran was keen to import as much as 100 million cubic feet of natural gas from Azerbaijan each day. Current imports are around 35 million cf.

Azerbaijan sells natural gas to the northern provinces of Iran in exchange for electricity. Iran aims to build infrastructure in the north that would allow it to process more natural gas deliveries from energy-rich Azerbaijan.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called for a swift implementation of the bilateral deals.

Tehran said the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan would sell Iran excess gas to meet Iranian needs. The terrain in Iran's north makes it difficult to distribute power.

SOCAR said in October that the reconstruction of two pipelines would give Azerbaijan the capacity needed to increase gas exports.

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