News & Reports News Year 2011 January , 2011 Iran, Azerbaijan ink gas deal

Iran, Azerbaijan ink gas deal

Iran and Azerbaijan signed an agreement that allows Azerbaijan to pump at least one billion cubic meters of natural gas into Iran in the current year.

The agreement was signed on Wednesday by President of Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR) Rovnag Abdullayev and General Director of National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) Javad Owji in the Azeri capital of Baku.

The supplies will start Feb. 1 under a five-year contract, and exports to Iran could double to 2 billion cubic meters next year.

The deal was inked after a meeting between Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi and his Azerbaijani counterpart Natig Aliyev earlier in the day.

“At the beginning of every year, the parties will agree the volumes of gas to be supplied during the year ahead but it will be a minimum of one billion cubic meters,” the SOCAR president explained.

“The signing of the gas contract is a new and great step,” Mirkazemi told the Azerbaijan’s Trend news agency, noting that gas exports to Iran may double to 2 billion cubic meters next year.

Mirkazemi and Aliyev also exchanged views on setting up a joint bank to fund joint energy projects.

The Iranian minister also held talks with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Baku where the two sides stressed their willingness to boost cooperation in energy investment, oil and gas swap, and other energy-related industries.

In September, Eldar Shiriyev, deputy head of the oil and gas department at Azerbaijan’s energy ministry, said his country exports about 1.2 million cubic meters of gas to Iran per day through a swap deal.

Iran, which holds the world’s second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, launched a joint pipeline in November to import natural gas from Turkmenistan.

The new pipeline will eventually enhance Turkmenistan’s annual gas exports to Iran to 20 billion cubic meters.

Iran has long sought to promote itself as a transit route for oil and gas from Central Asian states.