EghtesadOnline: Iran plans to raise natural gas production to 1 billion cubic meters per day by March 2019, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday.
“We currently produce 850 mcm/d, but output is planned to hit 1 bcm/d one and a half years from now,” Mehr News Agency also quoted Zanganeh as saying on the sidelines of the Seventh Biennial International Conference and Exhibition in Tehran.
Over two-thirds of Iran’s gas output come from the South Pars mega project that is being developed in 24 phases.
South Pars is the world's largest gas field shared by Iran and Qatar in the Persian Gulf. Iran is now drawing about 550-600 mcm/d of natural gas from the joint field that is almost level with Qatar's production, Financial Tribune reported.
Data show that Iran's output from South Pars has soared by 250 mcm/d over the past three and a half years. In the previous fiscal year alone, South Pars' output increased by nearly 100 mcm/d.
Iran holds 34 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, the largest in the world ahead of Russia with 32.6 trillion cubic meters, according to BP estimates.
The minister noted that in line with the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2017-22), plans call for raising gas exports to 40 billion cubic meters per day, excluding the prospective export of liquefied natural gas.
All of Iran’s gas exports stand at about 40 mcm/d. Calculations show that Iran currently sells nearly 15 billion cubic meters of gas annually, more than 90% of which go to Turkey and Iraq.
Despite years of speculations and no action, Iran continues to weigh options to transport its abundant natural gas resources to Europe and emerge from a marginal exporter in the region into a major player in the global market.
Experts say that export through pipelines will be cheaper but it comes with political considerations. However, LNG allows Iran to transport its natural gas anywhere in the world without facing political challenges
Zanganeh also said 98% of the urban population and over 70% of people in small towns and villages are connected to the national gas grid.