Oil Minister: Iran Seeking to Increase Interaction with Gas Majors
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s oil minister said the country has taken practical steps to intensify its cooperation with major gas producers and exporters, and added neighboring countries are the main export market for Iran's natural gas.
“We held talks with head of Russia’s Gazprom (company) and special representative of the country’s (Russia’s) president, and we opened the way for cooperation,” Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in a televised interview on Tuesday evening, referring to the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) meeting in Tehran a few days ago.
"We have also expanded our interactions with Algeria which has a lot of experience in the global gas market,” he added.
The 15th ministerial meeting of GECF started on November 3 in Tehran, with ministers and representatives from 13 member states and four observer countries in attendance.
Zanganeh further noted that Iran has a great leverage in the world’s oil and gas market, and affirmed that the world could never disregard the Islamic Republic in international energy markets.
The oil minister said Tehran also plans to boost the export of natural gas after meeting the domestic demand, and added, “In exports, the neighboring countries have priority, because no country other than Iran and Qatar has excess gas.”
“India, Turkey, Europe, and the eastern and western countries in general, constitute our next priority in terms of gas exports.”
Zanganeh also touched on Iran’s policy to enter “retail” market of natural gas by transferring the fossil product to neighboring Oman, noting that Tehran looks for “new marketing practices to sell gas” to other countries.
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.