EghtesadOnline: In line with efforts to ensure energy supply during the cold winter days, National Iranian Gas Company is endeavoring to maximize natural gas output from South Pars Gas Field so that subscribers' growing need for the much-needed fuel can be met effectively in the peak demand period.
Hamidreza Araqi, managing director of NIGC, made the statement on the sidelines of his visit to South Pars natural gas refineries in the city of Asalouyeh, Bushehr Province, on Friday, IRNA reported.
Pointing to the field's current production of 540 million cubic meters per day, Araqi said, "New phases, namely 13, 22, 23 and 24, are becoming operational gradually and it is estimated that the daily output level will reach 600 mcm by March 2018."
According Araqi, South Pars complex accounts for 70% of the country's total gas production and more than half a million cubic meters of sour gas is sweetened in its refining stations before being injected to Iran Gas Trunkline, Financial Tribune reported.
"There are no worries about supplying gas to households across the country in the cold season," he said, adding that regardless of NIGC's measures to expand production capacity and infrastructure, as long as the culture of prudent energy consumption is not ingrained among people, supply cuts cannot be avoided.
Reportedly, Iran faced a shortage of gas supply in January after its northern neighbor Turkmenistan unexpectedly halted exports.
According to the official, Turkmenistan exported 10-12 million cubic meters per day of gas to Iran, which accounted for less than 2% of domestic gas demand.
"The inauguration of Damghan-Neka gas pipeline in August ensured a steady supply of clean fossil fuel to northern regions, particularly in the cold season when demand soars," he said.
The pipeline, stretching from the city of Damghan in Semnan Province to Neka in Mazandaran Province, has the capacity to transfer 40 million cubic meters of gas to the northern regions.
The project was part of an expansive network of pipelines used to transfer natural gas from the giant South Pars field in the Persian Gulf all the way to the northern regions.
According to Gholamreza Manouchehri, the deputy for development and engineering at the National Iranian Oil Company, except for Phase 11 that will be expanded by the French energy major Total, other phases are in the final stage of development and will be in full swing in a year and a half.
"More than $70 billion have been expended on the gas project over the last 15 years and the field requires between $20 billion and $30 billion in additional spending to go on stream," he said, adding that the mega project has registered a work-in-progress rate of 85% and plans call for its completion by March 2019.
The mega gas project, which commenced in 1995, 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 still drawing less natural gas from the joint field compared to the tiny Arab state whose output reportedly stands at 650-700 mcm/d. 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.