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EghtesadOnline: Iran's share in the global natural gas trade should increase to 10% by 2025, the managing director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said.

"Although the country holds the world's second biggest natural gas reserves (after Russia), its current share in global gas trade is a meager 1%," Hamidreza Araqi was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on Tuesday.

Pointing to the 56 gas fields with total in-place reserves of 33.7 trillion cubic meters, of which 40 are still undeveloped, Araqi noted, "Our production level, standing at 850 million cubic meters per day, is not proportional to our exports. We need to work harder and play a bigger role in the global natural gas market."

According to the official, Iran currently exports natural gas via pipelines to three neighboring states, namely Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ankara receives more than 90% of the gas exports under a long-term contract, and Yerevan and Baku receive around 6% and 3% under swap agreements, Financial Tribune reported.

According to Deputy Oil Minister Amirhossein Zamaninia, Iran has about $7 trillion worth of underground gas deposits, based on European benchmark prices, and "its doors are open to those who will help it cash in on the fortune."

Reportedly, the country needs as much as $100 billion to develop its gas trade, but estimates vary. International majors such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total S.A. have assessed oil and gas fields in Iran, with the latter having signed an agreement to develop the country's South Pars mega gas project.

NIGC Iran gas Hamidreza Araqi gas market natural gas market