The tripartite swap agreement between Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan, which was signed on the sidelines of the 15th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), became operational on January 1. According to the deal, Iran will annually deliver 1.5 to 2 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas to Azerbaijan.
On the day of signing the agreement, Iranian Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji stated, “By signing this agreement, a step forward was taken in the energy relations between the two countries and this agreement will help provide sustainable winter fuel for the provinces of Khorasan Razavi, North and South, Golestan and Semnan.”
Activating energy diplomacy and expanding Iran’s cooperation with neighboring countries as part of the plans of Javad Owji, the 13th administration’s petroleum minister, has been on the agenda since his early days in September. The result is the signing of a gas swap contract, which, although not in large quantities, is an important step in the eyes of experts.
Turkmenistan aims to access the high seas to enter export markets, and Iran is an important option because it can easily access southern waters and export its gas, and if that happens in the future, Iran will also benefit from it.
Undoubtedly, the gas swap agreement will not be the end of the story. If this agreement is managed wisely over time, it will bring valuable achievements to the country in the future. Establishing Iran’s channel with Turkmenistan at a time when Tehran is facing hostile sanctions could be a turning point in ending many tensions in the region and opening up communication channels.
But with more than 34 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves (the world’s second-largest holder of gas reserves), Iran is in a region where demand for this valuable and clean fuel is increasing day by day, and Iran can quench the thirsty market in the region.