The countdown has started for official inauguration of a key pipeline project that will transfer natural gas to northern provinces of Iran.
The project, called the Damghan-Neka Gas Pipeline and expected to come online next week, is being launched almost 7 months after Turkmenistan severed gas supply to Iran during winter with the aim of charging Iran with more price for its gas.
The much-awaited gas pipeline is going to guarantee the steady supply of natural gas to the regions that experienced harsh winters in the past when neighboring Turkmenistan cut off gas supplies to Iran.
The project has been given serious attention over the past six months after Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh issued an order to complete the pipeline to end reliance on Turkmenistan, which has repeatedly halted gas supply to Iran in the wintertime.
Damghan-Neka pipeline is expected overcome the shortage of gas in the provinces of Semnan, Golestan, Mazandaran, North Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi, and South Khorasan, an energy official said.
Last winter, Turkmenistan breached a deal with Iran by cutting gas supplies. On January 1, Turkmens cut off gas supplies to Iran, saying Tehran should clear its outstanding debts, Tasnimnews reported.
Iran has imported natural gas from Turkmenistan since 1997 for distribution in the north of the country, furthest from the gas resources in the south.
Turkmens occasionally raise their prices in the wintertime. In a harsh winter in 2006, Turkmenistan cut off gas shipments and demanded a nine-fold price increase.