TEHRAN - Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh announced here on Sunday that the country is to begin legal proceedings against Pakistan in a protracted gas pipeline project.

Iran has laid the pipeline upto Pakistan's border, but the neighboring country has neglected to take due measure on its soil, Zangeneh said at a press briefing. So, Zangeneh added, the Petroleum Ministry is to take the issue to the court. About Tehran-Ashkhabad gas dispute, the minister said Iran did not import gas after Turkmenistan cut off its imports and claimed for 1.8-billion-dollar in arrears from Iran.

The two sides did some swap after cutting-off measure, Zangeneh said adding Turkmenistan wants to settle the gas dispute through international courts while Iran believes that Ashkhabad should make up for the losses.

The dispute started between Iran and Turkmenistan over gas imports when Ashkhabad, despite its previous agreements with Tehran, demanded for illogical high prices for its exported gas to Iran's northern regions. On December 30, 2016, Iranian representatives who were in Turkmenistan for talks over the dispute were told by Tehran to leave the negotiations warning their Turkmen counterparts that Tehran will not accept anything beyond the previously made bilateral agreements.

The petroleum minister also said the production and export of the Iranian oil grew after the July 2015 nuclear deal. He also rejected claims about a barter deal between Iran and Russia to exchange oil for advanced fighter jets. Touching upon Iran's joint oil and gas fields with neigboring countries, Zangeneh said production from the fields is Iran's priority.

From December 22 to January 20, 2017, Iran's gas production in the world's largest gas field of South Pars, known as North Dome in Qatar, has been daily 553 million cubic meters while the figure has been a record since 1991 and has been further than what the other side produced, Zangeneh said. About gas exports to Iraq, Zangeneh said the gas pipeline project has become ready to use in Iran while the southwestern neighbor has not completed the Basra pipeline yet. However, Iran exported 13 million cubic meters of gas to Iraq because of the cold weather in the country, Zangeneh added.

Also about the consortium comprising the Total, CNPC and Petropars for developing projects in the phase 11 of the supergiant South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf region, the minister said the deal is on schedule. Turning to the issue of gasoline, Zangeneh said Iran produced 16.5 million liters of the product, which shows an increase from the past Iranian calendar year ended on March 20, 2017, most from the Persian Gulf Star Refinery (PGSR) this year.