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Iran Ready to Build Oil Refineries for Turkmenistan: Deputy Minister

By Nigar Bayramli February 22, 2023

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Iran's Deputy Minister of Oil for Engineering, Research and Technology Vahidreza Zeydifard attended a meeting in Ashgabat between visiting Iranian oil and gas officials and their Turkmen counterparts as part of a trade show featuring Iranian goods, on February 20, 2023. / Turkmen Portal

Iran's Deputy Minister of Oil for Engineering, Research and Technology Vahidreza Zeydifard has said that Tehran is ready to build oil refineries in the Central Asian country.

"Iran is ready to build oil refineries for Turkmenistan, develop oil and gas fields together and supply the other country with equipment of competitive quality at affordable prices," Zeydifard said on February 20 at a meeting in Ashgabat between visiting Iranian oil and gas officials and their Turkmen counterparts as part of a trade show featuring Iranian goods, Turkmen news website Orient.tm reported.

He said that over 70% of the equipment that Iran used in its oil and gas sector was manufactured in the country itself and therefore it could export such equipment to Turkmenistan.

At the end of the meeting, officials agreed that the Turkmen side would send Iranian colleagues a list of needed equipment through diplomatic channels.

Last week, Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredow held talks with an Iranian delegation led by Iranian Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Solat Mortazavi to discuss developing economic and trade cooperation.

"During the talks, the ministers discussed expanding economic cooperation, primarily in the spheres of energy, transport and transit. Meredow said that he was in favor of developing the trade and economic relations between the two countries in the context of regional integration," the Turkmen Foreign Ministry reported on February 15.

Discussing the development of trade and economic cooperation, they noted positive dynamics in the growth of trade between the countries, and stressed the importance of giving impetus to increasing mutual trade in order to realize the existing solid potential.

On February 6, Meredow and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary and Iranian Expatriate Affairs Alireza Bigdeli discussed closer cooperation in electricity, transport and oil and gas sectors within the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Turkmen-Iranian Commission on Consular, Border and Customs Affairs in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat.

Earlier, the Turkmen foreign minister met visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Mehdi Safari, and the two sides discussed "a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation in the political, diplomatic, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres".

During the talks held on January 9, the importance of the work of the intergovernmental Turkmen-Iranian commission for economic cooperation was addressed. The meeting's agenda also examined prospects for developing cooperation in the fuel and energy sector, building up transport and transit potential.

In June 2022, the Iranian and Turkmen presidents signed a series of documents ranging from finance to energy. The package of nine Memoranda of Understanding included bilateral cooperation in the spheres of investment, transport, transit, environmental protection, TV and radio, as well as trade, economic, scientific, technical, and cultural areas between several provinces of the two countries.

In November 2021, Iran, Turkmenistan, as well as Azerbaijan signed a natural gas swap agreement under which Iran annually delivers 1.5 to 2 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas to Azerbaijan.

This agreement has revived political and economic relations between Tehran and Ashgabat as the two countries had been in dispute over price issues related to a previous gas agreement. In 2016, Ashgabat claimed that Tehran should have paid $1.5 billion for gas it supplied from Turkmenistan, but Iranian authorities have disputed the figure. In 2017, Turkmenistan halted gas deliveries to Iran due to a debt scandal.