* Azeri gas imports to resume in afternoon
* Iranian gas flow may also increase
* Turkey faces sharply growing gas demand (Adds comments on Iranian gas, background)
ANKARA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Turkey’s gas imports were set to rise on Wednesday after being slashed a day earlier by technical problems, with Azeri gas exports expected to resume while Iranian gas flows could also increase, according to company and Turkish officials.
Gas flow into Turkey from Azerbaijan and Iran dropped to a daily 6-7 million cubic metres (mcm) from the usual 40 mcm, leaving the country of 75 million people vulnerable as it faced pressure to meet high winter demand.
An official from operator BP said Turkey’s gas imports from the Shah Deniz platform in Azerbaijan, which stopped late on Monday after a malfunction during maintenance work, would resume on Wednesday afternoon.
Separately, a Turkish official said the flow of Iranian natural gas, which normally amounts to some 27-28 bcm, may increase during the afternoon after an explosion at a compressor in Iran.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Tuesday the problems were not affecting Turkish gas consumers or electricity supply.
Daily gas consumption has surged in fast-growing Turkey to 192 mcm from around 171 mcm a year ago. Energy demand is also higher now due to unusually low temperatures.
Turkey imports 6.6 billion cubic metres of gas per year from Azerbaijan, around 16 percent of its consumption. It imports around 10 bcm from Iran, making it Turkey’s second largest supplier after Russia.
Last month, Turkey applied for arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland in a dispute with Iran over the level of gas supplies and is also set to go to arbitration over gas prices. (Reporting by Seda Sezer; editing by James Jukwey)