ECO, which was founded by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan in 1985 as a follow-up of the Regional Cooperation for Development, was later joined by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in 1992.
According to the agreement, which was signed by the oil ministers of the countries after the end of the bilateral meeting between Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, 1.5 to 2 billion m3 of gas a year was agreed to be transferred from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan via Iran.
The deal comes after Iran agreed to pay its long-overdue debts to Turkmenistan for gas supplies it had received until 2017.
It also comes after Azerbaijan and Iran agreed to expand their energy ties following a brief period of tensions that started in late summer over border and transportation issues.
Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said:
- Turkmenistan will sell 5-6 million m3 of gas per day to Azerbaijan under the trilateral agreement
- Iran is moving to resolve a lingering gas debt dispute with Turkmenistan
- We will soon pay the 1st installment to clear the gas debt that we owe to the Turkmen side, after talks that were held earlier