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Turkey, Iran launch talks on energy cooperation

The talks, aiming to enhance energy cooperation between the two countries, kicked off in Tehran.
Workers walk along at refinery No. 2 (Phases 2, 3) of the South Pars Gas-Condensate field.

ANKARA — Turkish Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Alparslan Bayraktar met with a series of Iranian officials in Tehran on Thursday, as technical talks aimed at deepening energy cooperation between the two countries kicked off.

“We aim to develop our long-standing cooperation with Iran in the field of energy, especially with new agreements regarding natural gas,” Bayraktar wrote on the X platform (formerly known as Twitter) after his meeting with Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji.

Turkey has exported a total of 156 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Iran over the past 28 years as part of the cooperation between the two countries, Bayraktar was quoted as saying by Iran’s semi-official Mehr News Agency. The visit comes as Ankara seeks to secure new gas contracts with its southeastern neighbor. 

Iran remains the second-largest natural gas importer for Turkey, with the oil-and gas-rich country meeting 16% of Turkey's natural gas needs in 2023. Turkey imported roughly $3.3 billion worth of natural gas from its neighbor last year, according to official data. Russia is the first-largest and the United States is the fifth-largest natural gas importer of Turkey. 

Bayraktar also met with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Mehrabian, to discuss ways to increase electricity trade between the two countries as well as cooperation opportunities in the field of renewable energy, according to the Turkish minister.

Thursday’s talks followed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s first visit to Turkey in January, during which Turkish and Iranian officials signed a host of deals to enhance cooperation between the two regional powers.

Although Iran and Turkey are in conflict on a series of regional issues — including in Syria, where the capitals are supporting warring sides — the geopolitical rivalry has hardly affected trade between the two regional powers.

Turkey-Iran trade volume stood at roughly $5.5 billion in 2023, according to official data, dwarfing the trade volumes with several of Turkey’s other neighbors.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Raisi, in their January meeting, had reasserted their mutual goal to increase the trade volume to $30 billion in the short run.