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EghtesadOnline: In lines with efforts to provide the country's far-flung and underprivileged regions with natural gas, plans have been devised to lay 1,400 kilometers of pipeline in Sistan-Baluchestan Province in southern Iran as of March the National Iranian Gas Company's director for gas supply said.

"Close to 800 km will be laid in Zahedan and the rest is expected to be constructed in Zabol, which will branch off from the Zahedan pipeline," Saeed Momeni was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on Sunday.

Referring to the Zabol pipeline, he noted that it will be an extension of Iran Gas Trunkline 7 that has already been extended from Asalouyeh in Bushehr Province to Zahedan, pumping natural gas from the giant South Pars field in the Persian Gulf.

According to the official, as soon as the venture is fully launched in Zabol and Zahedan, the grid will extend toward Khash, Financial Tribune reported.

Commenting on Zabol-Khash project, Momeni added that the design of Zabol and Khash gas transmission pipelines, both in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, has been completed and the pipe-laying work, worth $450 million, will commence by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20).

Pointing to an 80-km pipeline that has already been laid in Zabol, the official said the city requires a 600-km network that is a long-term project and by the time it is completed, the city will be provided with compressed natural gas.

"Iranshahr was the first city in the province connected to the country's natural gas grid," he said, adding that 16,132 subscribers in Sistan-Baluchestan have been added to the network since March 2017, of whom 350 dwell in rural areas.

 According to the official, three villages have been connected to the grid and constructions are underway to lay pipelines in 19 more rural communities.

Momeni added that 1,118 km of pipelines have so far been laid in the region and the allocation of much-needed budget can accelerate the development process.

--- Long-Term Plans

According to Hassan Montazer-Torbati, the managing director of Iran Gas Engineering and Development Company, close to 36,000 kilometers of high-pressure gas pipelines are up and running in different parts of the country and long-term plans call for extending it to 45,000 km by 2026.

Montazer-Torbati noted that IGEDC has already set up 79 compressor stations and plans are in progress to increase them to 130.                       

“If the much-needed budget is approved and allocated, the plans are not farfetched,” he said, adding that domestic experts possess the know-how to play a major role in the venture.                

Underscoring the importance of developing national gas infrastructure, the official noted that as the network is extended, the faster gas will be transferred from far-flung refineries to the urban areas.

South Pars is the world's largest gas field shared between Iran and Qatar, covering an area of 3,700 square kilometers of Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.

The country is expanding gas supply infrastructure, as it looks to raise daily gas production to 1.2 billion cubic meters by 2021 from the present 880 million cubic meters.

Iran (with 34 trillion cubic meters) and Russia (with 32.6 tcm) hold the largest proven gas reserves, BP reported.

Iran natural gas Iran Sistan-Baluchestan Sistan-Baluchestan Gas Grid