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Armenia, Iran Sign Deal To Increase Gas Imports, Power Flows

A unit of Iran's South Pars gas field
A unit of Iran's South Pars gas field

Armenia is looking to increase imports of natural gas from neighboring Iran after the two countries signed an agreement earlier this week.

Armenia’s Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure, and Natural Resources reported on November 2 that representatives of Armenia’s Energaimpex company and the National Iranian Gas Export Company signed a document authorizing the purchase of more Iranian natural gas during a visit to Iran on October 31 and November 1.

Armenia currently imports up to 500 million cubic meters of Iranian gas annually through a pipeline built in 2008. By comparison, Russian gas supplies to the South Caucasus country total around 2 billion cubic meters.

Iranian gas has until now been purchased by a state-owned Armenian thermal-power plant. The plant pays for it with electricity delivered to Iran.

Recently, Yerevan reportedly offered to buy additional volumes of Iranian gas, some of which could be re-exported to Georgia, and the Iranian side is said to have accepted the proposal.

The Armenian Energy Ministry said that its delegation, led by Deputy Minister Hayk Harutiunian, discussed prospects of transiting Iranian gas to third countries via Armenia with Iran’s deputy oil minister and a senior National Gas Export Company representative.

The delegation also met with Iran’s Deputy Energy Minister Houshang Falahatian and an adviser to the minister, Homayoun Hayeri, and discussed increasing the volumes of electricity flows between the countries.

The parties discussed increasing power flows between Armenia, Iran, and Georgia within the current capacity of high-voltage lines, and also in the Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Russia regional cooperation format after the expected launch of new infrastructure, the ministry said.

The Armenian delegation members also visited the Iranian Mapna Company, which intends to invest in the construction of wind power stations in Armenia, as well as the Sanir Company, which is the general contractor for the construction of a third Iran-Armenia high-voltage line.

Artashes Tumanian, the Armenian ambassador to Iran, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service last month that Russia will not object to the increased energy cooperation with Iran because the deal “does not run counter to anybody’s interests.”