Iran's gas exports to Turkey will soon double after its project for strengthening gas pressure facilities in the Northwestern border city of Tabriz is accomplished, an official announced on Saturday.
"At present, the gas compressor installations in Tabriz have three turbo compressor systems and three electro compressors will be added to the installations in this development plan," Deputy Head of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) for Operations Abdul Hossein Samari said.
"After launching the second phase of the facility, the nominal daily capacity of gas transfer will increase to 53 million cubic meters from the current 36 million cubic meters and the maximum capacity will be increased to 60 million cubic meters," the NIGC deputy chief said.
In relevant remarks in July, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Ali Majedi underlined that Ankara is currently holding talks with Tehran to increase the volume of its gas imports irrespective of the two countries' row over the volume of earlier supplies.
Turkey's state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS) applied to an international court of arbitration in 2012 for a ruling on Iran's gas pricing. The case is still pending.
"The result of the arbitration might be announced in a six-month time, but the two countries' negotiations over increasing Iran's gas supplies to Turkey might end in result prior to that date, meaning that Iran might increase its gas exports to Turkey before the court ruling is issued, which shows that the current negotiations are not related to the two countries' row," Majedi told FNA last month.
Turkey deems Iranian gas too expensive compared with other suppliers like Russia and Azerbaijan, an assertion rejected by Tehran.
On January 30, 2014, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that his country could double the amount of natural gas it imports from Iran if the two countries can agree on a price.
However, Head of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araqi said that Iran will not decrease the price of the natural gas it exports to Turkey under the current agreement.
"We can increase the amount of Iran's gas exports to Turkey under a new agreement," Araqi said.
Under a contract signed in 1996, Turkey imports 10 billion cubic meters per year of gas from Iran. The contract became active in 2001. Turkey depends on imports for almost all of its natural gas needs, estimated to hit 52 billion cubic meters this year.
Turkey is keen to increase oil and gas imports from Tehran in anticipation of sanctions against Iran's huge energy sector being dismantled in the wake of an interim nuclear deal last year between Tehran and six big powers.