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Iran secures gas from Turkmenistan

Web of Central Asian gas networks getting denser.

By
Daniel J. Graeber

TEHRAN, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Turkmenistan under the terms of an agreement will increase the amount of gas it exports to Iran by 20 percent, Iran's deputy oil minister said Wednesday.

Deputy Minister Hamid Reza Araqi told the semiofficial Mehr News Agency a deal ensures adequate gas supplies for the upcoming winter.

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Araqi said Turkmenistan has since the beginning of the Iranian calendar year, which begins in March, has exported around 80 million cubic feet of natural gas to Iran, a level that should increase by 20 percent under the terms of a new arrangement.

"According to agreements signed, there is currently no barrier blocking the flow of gas from Turkmenistan," he said.

Turkmenistan is one of the largest natural gas producers in the world. Its Galkynysh natural gas field near the border of Afghanistan is one of the world's largest, with an estimated 925 trillion cubic feet of reserves.

Iran too holds significant natural gas reserves, though mountainous northern terrain makes national dispersal complicated.

"The deal makes it possible to raise the amount imported from Turkmenistan in cold months of the winter," Araqi said.

Western powers have backed a multilateral gas pipeline from Turkmenistan east toward India over an Iranian project for Pakistan.

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