Iran to raise gas output by two-thirds in two years

Iran’s President Rouhani speaks at the GECF on 23 November (Source:Irna)
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Iran plans to increase its total gas production by two-thirds to 1 billion cubic metres a day (cmd) in two years from 600 million cmd now, President Rouhani told the third summit meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Tehran on 23 November.

This would make Iran by far the largest natural gas producer in the Middle East and will lay the foundations for the Islamic Republic to implement an ambitious natural gas export programme, analysts said.

The target is equivalent to producing 6.3 million barrels a day (b/d) of crude oil, though most of Iran’s output at present is consumed locally, used in reinjection or flared. Its output at present is roughly the same as that of Qatar which is now the world’s largest LNG exporter. Saudi Arabia is the region’s third largest producer of gas, all of it used domestically.

Iran is a small and strictly regional exporter of natural gas via pipelines to three neighboring countries: Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Turkey receives more than 90 percent of Iran’s natural gas exports under a long-term contract. Armenia and Azerbaijan have swap arrangements with Iran that account for 6 percent and 3 percent of Iran’s natural gas exports, respectively.

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was reported as saying on 17 November his ministry is planning to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe rather than pumping gas via pipelines.

“LNG has a considerable advantage as it can be exported to the most remote parts of the world, but exporting gas via pipelines is limited,” Zanganeh was quoted as saying. “LNG is Iran’s policy for far-reaching markets; export of pipelined gas has a number of problems and in addition to pipe (laying) for long distances, huge investments also need to be made for transit…”

Zaganeh said Iran’s building an LNG plant with capacity of 10 million tonnes a year.