Iran has launched a major pipeline to deliver up to 40 million cubic meters of natural gas to Northern provinces. Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh attended a ceremony on Tuesday to launch the project that is believed to render Iran needless of importing natural gas from Turkmenistan to feed its northern provinces.
Known as the Damghan-Neka gas project, the pipeline can deliver up to 40 million cubic meters of gas per day to gas consumers in northern Iran.
Construction of the project began 10 years ago but gained much momentum after Turkmenistan reneged on its promise to supply gas to Iran last winter demanding extra charges for its gas to Iran.
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.
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.
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.
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.