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Iran-Turkmenistan pipeline online in weeks

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A natural gas pipeline from the Dauletabad gas field in Turkmenistan is set for a December launch to bring 700 billion cubic feet of gas to Iran each year.

The second pipeline adds to the existing Korpeje-Kurtkui pipeline that brings 282 billion cubic feet of gas to Iran each year from Turkmenistan.

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Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov paid a visit to the construction site of the pipeline, saying the national gas company Turkmengaz was ready to meet all of the necessary supplies, the Trend news agency reports.

Iran said it could use the gas from Turkmenistan for transfers to Iraq and the rest of the region from various export connections.

Both countries in February signed agreements to develop fields in Turkmenistan in an effort to diversify transit options.

Moscow has a strong grip on the energy sector in Turkmenistan, and Ashgabat is eager to expand.

Berdimuhamedov noted his country would begin operating a gas pipeline to China by the end of 2009 with the capacity to pump some 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas per year. Meanwhile, he emphasized the importance of the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline while a rival project from Iran moves forward in the region.

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