Turkey has failed to repair a gas pipeline that was damaged by an explosion in late March, stopping Iranian gas exports to the country, Iran’s Press TV said.
Iran sells about 10 billion cubic metres of gas a year to Turkey under a 25-year supply deal signed in 1996. The pipeline has been blown up several times by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but after previous attacks it was usually swiftly repaired, Press TV said.
However, an official at the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said that Turkey had not responded to Iran after another blast occurred on the pipeline on March 31, Press TV reported.
Turkey’s representative at Bazargan gas transmission station left his post due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the NIGC official Mehdi Jamshidi-Dana told the Iranian Fars news agency.
Jamshidi-Dana said it was not clear when the line would re-open, but that previously damaged pipelines had usually been repaired in three to seven days.
On Wednesday, Fars agency said that the pipeline was still out of service and accused Turkish state energy company BOTAŞ of being unwilling to repair it.
Fars speculated that the situation could be due to efforts by the United States to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Turkey.
“In recent months, Turkey has imported as much LNG from the United States as gas imports from Iran,” Ali Nasr, an energy expert, told Fars.
Turkey is heavily dependent on gas imports from Russia, and has already reduced flows from Gazprom significantly, while increasing LNG purchases and gas imports from Azerbaijan, Press TV said.