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ANKARA Feb 8 Cold weather has again forced Iran
to stop pumping natural gas to Turkey, Turkish Energy Minister
Hilmi Guler said on Friday.
"Bad weather conditions have had their effect. The flow of
Iranian natural gas dropped and halted yesterday," Guler told
reporters at a reception at the Iranian embassy.
"Our friends are holding talks to try to solve the problem."
A previous stoppage, also prompted by harsh weather, lasted
three weeks before Iran finally resumed its gas exports to
Turkey on Jan. 27. Iranian officials blamed that disruption on
increased domestic demand sparked by the cold weather.
"Our cooperation is continuing, we are trying to solve the
technical problems. We need some time, there is mutual
understanding," an Iranian embassy official said in Ankara.
Botas, Turkey's state gas pipeline company, said Iran had
not given any explanation for the latest disruption. It said
Turkey was currently experiencing no problems in meeting demand,
which it put at around 125 million cubic metres a day.
"Iran has not explained why they stopped pumping gas or when
the supplies might resume," a senior Botas official said.
Gas is continuing to flow via a newly opened pipeline to
Greece, the official added. Greece was hit in a domino effect
last month when Iran stopped pumping gas to Turkey.
"If we need extra gas we will again turn to the Russians,"
the Botas official said.
Russia and Iran account respectively for about 70 percent
and 20 percent of Turkey's natural gas needs. Russia raised its
supplies last month to meet Turkey's shortfall.
(Reporting by Evren Mesci and Orhan Coskun, writing by Gareth
Jones, editing by Anthony Barker)