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Azerbaijan, Iran Sign Natural Gas Agreement

Iranian Oil Minister Seyid Masud Mirkazemi
Iranian Oil Minister Seyid Masud Mirkazemi
BAKU -- Baku and Tehran have signed a five-year agreement on the supply of Azerbaijani natural gas to Iran, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The agreement was signed today by representatives of Azerbaijan's State Oil Company (SOCAR) and Iran's National Gas Export Company (NIGEC) with the participation of Iran’s visiting Oil Minister and current OPEC Chairman Seyid Masud Mirkazemi.

SOCAR spokesperson Nizameddin Quliyev told RFE/RL the agreement envisages the export of 1 billion cubic meters of gas to Iran during 2011, beginning February 1. He said the volume of gas in subsequent years is subject to negotiation.

Quliyev did not disclose the price for the exported gas, saying only that it was a world market price "acceptable for Azerbaijan."

Azer Mansimli, spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Energy, told RFE/RL today that Azerbaijan and Iran may also establish an energy bank for implementing and financing joint oil and gas projects. The proposal was discussed in a meeting between Mirkazemi and Azerbaijan's Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev.

In February 2008, Iran received 30 million cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan on the basis of a short-term commercial contract. At the time, the price was $292 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas.

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