The Turkish-Iranian Gas Relationship: Politically Successful, Commercially Problematic
With proven natural gas reserves standing at 991.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), Iran holds the world’s second largest gas reserves after Russia1. Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, the production of gas in Iran has mainly been intended to meet the domestic demand2. However, at the end of 2001 Iran began to export gas to Turkey. Besides the Turkish desire to explore the Iranian gas market, the huge natural gas resources have also attracted international energy companies worldwide. However, from the Iranian side the focus has mainly been on oil exports, and the Iranian gas market has been very difficult for international companies. Policy makers in Iran have also been hard to cooperate with, and tough conditions have been imposed on any company seeking to invest in Iran´s natural gas fields. The most successful Iranian gas export trade in the post-revolutionary era has been between Iran and Turkey even though this relationship, which is the focus of this paper, has been far from successful.