President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) Rovnag Abdullayev announced his country's preparedness to start export of natural gas supplies to neighboring Iran.He said there was a gas deal between the two countries, but Azerbaijan has not started gas export yet. "Azerbaijan is ready to export gas when Iranian side requests." Azerbaijan exports 400 million cubic meters of natural gas to Iran per year to meet gas needs of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. Iran itself is an exporter of natural gas, but it imports supplies from the Central Asian State of Turkmenistan for its northern regions which are far away from the national grid and taking gas to which would be costlier than importing supplies from Iran's northern neighbors. Iran exports gas to several countries, including Turkey, and is building a high-profile pipeline to supply gas to Pakistan. The pipeline will start operation in early 2014.