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Turkey Replacing Natural Gas Imports From Iran, Russia By LNG From The US

An Iranian worker stands in front of gas pipelines next to the flags of Turkey (R) and Iran. FILE PHOTO

Official Turkish data show a significant drop in natural gas imports from its eastern neighbor, Iran, in the first quarter of 2020.

Turkey's Energy Market Regulatory Authority reported on Thursday, May 28, that the country received two billion cubic meters of natural gas from Iran in the first quarter of the year, down nearly fifteen percent from the same period last year.

But since the beginning of the second quarter, a blown-up natural gas pipeline has reduced imports even further and Ankara has so far refused to repair it.

A group linked with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the attack.

The pipeline used to carry around ten billion cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Turkey annually and has frequently been attacked since it became operational in the early 2000s.

Iran's Oil Minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh last Monday blamed Turkey for not showing interest in repairing the gas pipeline.

"Iran offered to help repair the pipeline but the other side did not welcome it," Zanganeh said while maintaining that the repair work would not have taken more than a few days. Ankara has so far refused to respond to his remarks.

Natural gas imports from Iran in March show a decrease of more than thirty percent, and Turkey will probably receive no more Iranian natural gas in the second quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, it has also sharply reduced natural gas imports from Russia.

In March, Russia, Ankara's largest natural gas supplier for years, exported only 390 million cubic meters of the product to Turkey, down 72 percent from March last year.

The reason for the decrease in the purchase of natural gas from Iran and Russia is the significant drop in the price of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the global market.

As a result, Turkey has more than doubled its imports of LNG in March compared with March 2019, and for the first time, Turkey's liquefied natural gas imports have outpaced the purchase of natural gas through pipelines. In March, Turkey tripled its purchases of liquefied natural gas from the United States.

Turkey's customs statistics show that it imported only $ 33 million worth of goods and gas from Iran in March 2020, down nineteen times from March last year because it has also stopped buying crude oil from Iran since the second half of last year.