TEHRAN: Iran warned Turkmenistan yesterday it would not discuss a possible rise in the price of gas imports until the former Soviet state restores supplies after a cut of almost two weeks.
Turkmenistan completely halted its gas exports to Iran on December 30 for what it said were technical reasons, compounding chronic Iranian gas shortages during one of the country's worst cold snaps in living memory.
"We have announced to Turkmenistan that we will not have any negotiations about the increase in the gas price until it resumes the gas supply to Iran," Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said.
"Though price could also be an issue, the reason for the gas (exports) cut has officially been said to be technical issues," Nozari said.
Turkmenistan normally exports between 20 to 23 million cubic metres of gas daily to Iran - amounting to around 5pc of the Islamic republic's total consumption.
It has said the halt in exports is temporary and linked to necessary repairs to technical problems.
Iran has set up a special committee to deal with the impact of the cut in gas imports from Turkmenistan, amid a surge in domestic gas demand due to the plunging temperatures.
As a result of the halt in supplies, Iran, hit by severe cold, has been forced to reduce its own gas exports to Turkey which are almost as much as its imports from Ashgabat.