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16 January 2012 - 22:06

Turkey's Energy Minister says Iran has rejected Ankara's demand for cheaper natural gas, adding that going to an international arbitration court over the issue seems “inevitable”, Press TV reports.

Speaking in a news conference in Ankara on Monday, Taner Yildiz noted that “we have close cooperation with Iran and we are developing joint projects, but we voiced our discomfort to them [Iranian officials] over the price of the natural gas we import and told them that the prices are high.”

“They did not share the same view with us. We respect their view…but we did not reach an agreement, so an international arbitration court seems inevitable,” the Turkish minister added.

Yildiz noted that Ankara's talks over the issue with Iranian energy officials follow Turkey's negotiations with Moscow over the price of the imported natural gas from Russia.

He added that Turkey routinely reviews and controls the price of the natural gas it imports from Russia, Iran, Nigeria, Azerbaijan and Algeria.

Yildiz stated that as soon as the two countries reach an agreement, a Turkish delegation could go to Tehran or an Iranian delegation could visit Ankara to end the pricing issue.

Iran is one of the main sources of the natural gas imports for neighboring Turkey.

On October 12, 2011, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Javad Oji said Turkey has requested Iran to increase its natural gas exports to its northwestern neighbor amid a Russia-Turkey row over the price of gas.

He added that Iran's gas exports to Turkey stood at 24 million cubic meters per day on average and expressed Tehran's readiness to provide Ankara with further natural gas.

The official stated that Iran has a capacity to export a daily average of 36-40 million cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey.

Iran ranks second in the world in natural gas reserves after Russia with available gas reserves estimated at over 33 trillion cubic meters.

In addition to exporting gas to Turkey, Armenia, and Pakistan, the country is currently negotiating gas exports to Iraq.
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News ID 181388