The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) authorities say a major gas pipeline project that is being constructed along the Caspian Sea is near completion amid Iran’s plans to increase gas supply to Azerbaijan under a swap deal with Turkmenistan.
NIGC’s head of dispatching operations Mohammad Reza Joulayi said on Sunday that the Rasht- Chelavand pipeline will be ready for gas transfer within the next few days.
Joulayi told the Iranian Oil Ministry’s news service Shana that the 42-inch, 150-kilometer gas pipeline will play a major part in Iran’s gas supply arrangements with Azerbaijan.
The NIGC started the construction of Rasht-Chelavand gas pipeline in 2019 with the aim of expanding its gas transfer network in colder regions in north of the country.
However, the project accelerated in November after Iran signed a major deal for swap of gas with Turkmenistan for delivery to Azerbaijan.
The deal allows Iran to receive 5-6 million cubic meters per day of gas from Turkmenistan for use in its northeastern regions while it delivers the same amount of gas to Azerbaijan through its pipeline facilities near Astara.
Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji said in June that he had reached agreements with Turkmen and Azerbaijani officials to double the amount of gas agreed for swap between the three neighbors.
The new gas pipeline from Rasht to Chelavand, which is located near Astara and is home to a major pressure bosting station, will enable the NIGC to significantly increase its gas supply to Azerbaijan.
The pipeline also boosts NIGC’s capacity to respond to the gas demand in the Ardabil province where gas consumption reaches record highs during cold winter months.