Official: Boosting LNG Exports on Iran’s Agenda

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Companies affiliated with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) are trying to boost exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), said deputy oil minister on Tuesday, adding increasing gas exports through pipelines to neighboring countries is among the main programs of the industry.

Official: Boosting LNG Exports on Iran’s Agenda

“The drive to diversify the country’s gas export basket has not been abandoned and increasing exports and managing the issue is pursued by the NIOC affiliated firms,” Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araqi told Tasnim News Agency

He said that boosting the country’s natural gas exports through pipelines to neighboring countries, as well as sales to other regional countries are among the major plans in this industry.

“The efforts made today will bear fruit in the not too distant future, when we will be witnesses to aye-catching success in this field,” added the deputy oil minister.

The NIGC chief said that natural gas can be exported in a variety of ways, but today Iran is only using the pipeline gas exports.

On October 23, Oman’s oil and gas minister said that Iran and Oman were surveying the best seabed path for a submarine gas pipe to transfer Iran’s gas to the sultanate.

“We are currently doing a survey to find out the optimum distance and characteristics of the seabed and all that goes with it,” Mohammed bin Hamed al-Rumhy told his country’s Daily Oman Observer, adding it needs at least four years for Iran's gas to reach Oman through the seabed pipeline.

In August, the Sultanate signed a landmark MOU for the supply of Iranian gas potentially worth billions of dollars over a 25-year period.

In July, Iranian and Iraqi oil ministers signed the first deal to transfer Iran's natural gas to two Iraqi power plants. The agreement was signed by former Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi in a special ceremony held in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad.

The project is aimed at supplying Al-Baghdad and Al-Mansouriyah power plants in Iraq with 25 million cubic meters (mcm) per day of natural gas.

Iran also plans to export gas to Pakistan, but that country has failed to construct its part of the pipeline due to financing difficulties.

Iran exports natural gas to Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, and receives pipeline imports from Turkmenistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Since 2000, Iran's annual natural gas imports have exceeded its exports in all but two years (2010 and 2012). In 2011 and 2012, Iran accounted for less than 1 percent of global dry natural gas imports and exports, a small figure considering the country's vast reserves.

Iran is particularly dependent on imports during winter months, when residential heating demand peaks during colder weather.

Although it is second to no country in terms of gas reserves, Iran's own consumption has risen more markedly than its production - caused by heating, power generation and oilfield reinjection needs- to make it a net importer.

The sanctions imposed by the US and some western countries have hampered development of Iran’s South Pars and drove away international energy companies.

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