On Sunday, a trilateral gas swap deal was signed between Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan envisioning up to two billion cubic meters per year.
The oil ministers of the three countries, in the presence of the presidents of Iran and Turkmenistan and the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, signed the much-awaited agreement on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat.
In a meeting with reporters, Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji told that under the swap deal, Iran will receive gas from Turkmenistan and deliver an equivalent amount to Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, Turkmenistan will sell five to six million cubic meters of gas per day to Azerbaijan through Iranian territory.
The implementation of the deal is expected to be exercised in less than a month.
Experts see the signing of the agreement as a sign of de-escalation in tensions between Tehran and Baku, while Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s statements to reporters say the deal will “strengthen ties” between the three countries.
The gas swap deal comes a week after Azerbaijan and Iran agreed to push ahead with multiple energy agreements, including swap deals and joint development of oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea.
The long-running dispute between Tehran and Ashgabat over gas debt also came up on the sidelines of the ECO summit.
Without specifying the amount, Iran’s oil minister assured his Turkmen counterpart that the first installment of the debt would be paid “soon.”
Iran owes Turkmenistan around $1.8 billion in payments for gas delivered to Tehran, according to reports.
Iran has been importing gas from Turkmenistan since the late 1990s to meet the growing demand in the country, especially in its northern provinces, even though Iran has a vast number of natural gas fields in the southern parts of the country.