A contract valued at $117.6 million for the initial, 300-kilometre, Turkish section of a pipeline to import natural gas from Iran has been awarded to a local venture of STFA Enerkom with Fernas, according to state pipeline and gas agency Botas.

The venture submitted the lowest bid out of 14 non-credit quotes to Botas at the end of February (MEED 14:3:97). The company will build the 46-inch- diameter pipeline between Dogubeyazit on the Iranian border and Erzurum in the east, as part of a pipeline planned between Tabriz and Ankara under a $18,000 million, 23-year gas supply agreement signed in August 1996 (MEED 17:1:97). The supply agreement, however, is opposed by the US, which has urged the government to seek alternative sources.

The initial Turkish section will take about 20 months to build. Iran will finance and build its 270-kilometre section from Tabriz to the Turkish border.