Turk PM to ask Iran president to restore gas flow

ANKARA Tue Jan 8, 2008 10:26am GMT

ANKARA Jan 8 (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will ask Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to restore the flow of natural gas to Turkey after it was cut off this week, he was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Iran, one of Ankara's main gas suppliers, halted its supply to Turkey this week, state-run pipeline Botas said on Monday. Iran later blamed the disruption on cold weather and a cut in Turkmen gas supplies to the Islamic Republic.

"I will speak to (Ahmadinejad) and ask him to speedily restore the flow," state agency Anatolian quoted him as telling reporters in Ankara.

Despite criticism from the United States, Ankara is trying to deepen energy ties with Iran and plans to invest billions in Iranian energy projects.

A senior energy minister official told Reuters on Monday that the disruption in supplies would last a "long time" and Russia, Turkey's other main energy provider, was unable to allocate additional supplies.

Last week the flow from Iran had already fallen to 4-5 million cubic metres a day from an agreed 30 million, after Turkmenistan halted supplies to Iran.

A daily reduction of 30 million cubic metres from Iran and a 5 million cubic metre deficit in gas from Russia has created a daily deficit of 35 mcm, the official said. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun)