Iranian Oil Minister: mechanisms for repayment of debt for Turkmen gas will be considered

Iranian Oil Minister: mechanisms for repayment of debt for Turkmen gas will be considered

The Minister of Oil of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Bijan Zanganeh, said that approaches (mechanisms) and solutions of repayment of the debt for Turkmenistan’s gas, which was previously delivered to the Iranian side in accordance with bilateral agreements, will be discussed, – according to leading Iranian mass medias.

At a press conference with journalists during the contract signing ceremony for the development of the Yaran oil field in Iran, for the first time Bijan Zanganeh commented the decision of the international arbitration court concerning the Iran-Turkmenistan gas dispute, informs Iranian News Agency.

The Minister declared that the people and government of Turkmenistan are friendly to Iran, and that the Islamic Republic wants to work with the neighboring country in the longer term.

The official added, “It should be recalled that Iran was unable to transfer money owing to sanctions and will pay its debt to Turkmenistan, but international trade disputes arise and are resolved, and it is not a question of who won, who lost and who is forfeited.”

Mr.Zanganeh recalled that earlier there were legal proceedings between the National Gas Company of Iran and the Turkish Botasha, but as a result, friendly relations and cooperation between the companies continue at the moment.

The Iranian Oil Minister also commented the accumulation of debt for previously imported Turkmen gas, having informed: “Due to the sanctions, we were not able to transfer money to the Turkmen side in due time, and the decision of the international arbitration that the national gas company should pay the debt to Turkmengaz was not a surprise to us», – reports IRNA News Agency.

When asked about the possibility of signing a new contract between the gas companies of Iran and Turkmenistan, the Iranian Oil Minister said, “This issue will be determined in the context of long-term relations between two countries,” Mr.Zanganeh was quoted by the MEHR News Agency.

The Iranian Oil Minister, explaining some ambiguities in the gas dispute between Iran and Turkmenistan, recalled that neither the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran nor the Ministry of Oil were signatories to the agreement, it was a trade agreement between the National Iranian gas company and the Turkmen gas company, which was accompanied by disagreements and disputes over several gas disengage by Turkmenistan owing to the fact that the National Iranian gas company did not pay the bills for the delivered raw materials, informs internet publication.

Looking back that the international court of arbitration (ICA) recently announced its verdict on the Iran-Turkmenistan gas dispute.

“IRNA stated that being based on information from the Ministry of Oil and the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), Iran was convicted of non-payment for gas purchased from Turkmenistan during the period of 2007 to 2013. According to the verdict, the details of which have not yet been divulged, Iran must pay almost $ 2 billion to Ashgabat to discharge its debt.”

It was also emphasized that the Ministry of Oil and the NIGC declare that according to the ICA arbitration rules, the details of the court’s decision will not be published unless both parties agree to it.

The gas dispute between Turkmenistan and Iran arose in 2017, when the Iranian side announced that Turkmenistan had stopped gas supplies to the Islamic Republic from January 1, 2017. The Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan replied that Ashgabat was forced to reduce gas supplies to Iran because of the large debt of the Iranian company for gas supplied earlier. Despite lengthy negotiations, the parties could not reach an agreement, and the “Turkmengaz” State Concern was forced to file a claim to the International Arbitration Court.

Janmamed GULAMOV