EghtesadOnline: Having access to some of the world's largest hydrocarbon resources, Iran plays a key role in determining the policies of the world's top gas exporters, First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri said.
After arriving in Bolivia alongside Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on Thursday for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, Jahangiri underscored Iran's position in a landscape that is increasingly shifting toward natural gas and cleaner energy resources.
"Iran has the biggest gas reserves in the world and is a crucial player in the Gas Exporting Countries Forum," the official was quoted as saying by IRNA at the Santa Cruz International Airport in Bolivia.
In the early 2000s, Iran played a leading role in founding GECF–a group of gas producing nations that holds around 70% of global gas reserves. Three members—Iran, Russia and Qatar—hold about 57% of global reserves, Financial Tribune reported.
"Several years ago, we anticipated the importance of natural gas and formed an organization. Today, it is a locus of decision-making for energy," Jahangiri said, referring to GECF that is also labeled as "OPEC of the gas market".
The vice president also described Latin America as central to Iran's foreign policy, adding that he would meet top officials of Bolivia and other countries in his visit to South America's eighth largest economy.
Experts say burning natural gas in power plants produces about 50% percent less carbon dioxide compared to coal or crude oil. Moreover, compressed natural gas in vehicles significantly curtails tailpipe emissions compared with other engine fuels.
Iran is the world's third largest gas producer, extracting around 800 million cubic meters of gas a day. But the country has struggled to increase its footprint in global markets, as most of its supply is consumed to meet domestic appetite.
The country exports around 40 mcm/d to Turkey and Iraq through pipeline and is completely missing out on the liquefied natural gas market because of a lack of LNG production facilities.
LNG makes up about 10% of global gas trade, but that is expected to significantly rise as global energy majors plan to spend billions of dollars on new LNG plants worldwide.
Iran’s idleness in the LNG market becomes conspicuous compared to Qatar, a small Arab nation that shares the world’s largest natural gas field with Iran in the Persian Gulf but holds the title of the world’s largest LNG supplier, holding around 30% of the global market.
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.
Earlier this week, GECF Secretary-General Mohammad Hossein Adeli said the organization sees no glut of natural gas in the global market, adding that competition is needed.
“If you compare production to consumption, you would see that production is not overwhelming the consumption,” Adeli was quoted as saying by Reuters.