Iran opens pipeline in hope of cutting Turkmen reliance

By Verity Ratcliffe 7 August 2017
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A gas plant in Turkmenistan. (CNPC) A gas plant in Turkmenistan. (CNPC)

Tehran has hailed the opening of a 170-km pipeline between Neka and Damghan in Iran’s northern provinces on 1 August as an opportunity to break the region’s reliance on Turkmen gas. But while the pipeline’s completion will certainly shift the power dynamics between Iran and Turkmenistan, cutting gas supply ties completely may still be difficult.

The flow of gas from Turkmenistan has been interrupted several times in the past, so the new pipeline – which has taken 10 years to build because it crosses mountainous terrain – is considered strategically important to Iran. 

Hedayat Omidvar, a communications officer for National Iranian Gas Co. (NIGC), told Interfax Natural Gas Daily that the 40 million cubic metre per day (MMcm/d) connection will completely replace imports from Turkmenistan.

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