EghtesadOnline: Iran is burning off record amounts of natural gas, which is way higher than the global average, the deputy for gas distribution at the National Iranian Gas Company said.
"While the average global gas consumption has observed a mild rise of 1.65% in the past three decades, Iran's demand of the fuel has hiked about 4.2% during the same period, which is alarming," Saeed Momeni was also quoted as saying by Shana.
"Such injudicious consumption pattern should be reconsidered by adopting efficient strategies," he added.
According to a report published early June by BP Statistical Review of World Energy, Iran natural gas consumption in 2017 stood at 214.4 billion cubic meters, up from 201.3 bcm one year ago. This marks an upward shift of 6.50%, Financial Tribune reported.
Reportedly, almost 40% of Middle East gas consumption take place in Iran, an unreasonably high level by any standard.
Momeni added that "our population is respectively equivalent to 1.65% and 20% of the world's and the Middle East's population".
With a population of 80 million, Iran burns more than 200 billion cubic meters of gas annually, which is closer to that of China, the second-largest economy and the most populous country in the world, which consumed a total of 191 billion cubic meters in 2015, data show.
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Momeni noted that the lion's share of gas consumption belongs to households, while power plants fall in second place.
Unless the issue is taken into consideration, the official noted, the national gas grid will face major challenges in meeting the gas demand.
The country faced an unexpected gas crisis at the beginning of last year, as Turkmenistan abruptly cut supplies to make Iran pay nine times the price of their gas contract.
Iran took in limited amounts of gas from Turkmenistan in the northeast to supply gas to northern regions straddling the Caspian Sea coast.
Momeni said long-term strategies should be adopted to prevent such wastage.
Abundance of natural gas, coupled with cheap tariffs and subsidies, has led to the profligate use of fossil fuel in Iran. Analysts and experts have long argued that unless the government scales back heavy energy subsidies, the wasteful consumption pattern will endure.
The latest government data put gas production at around 880 million cubic meters per day.
According to Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Iran is on pace to boost gas production to 1 billion cubic meters per day by March 2019, roughly the same time when all South Pars phases are planned to come on stream.
Iran holds the world’s second largest gas reserves after Russia and the clean fossil fuel is its single biggest source of energy.
This is indicative of the importance of Iran’s gas in present as well as future national and international marketing.
"Unless we adopt a judicious approach, we will lose a good opportunity in the international markets," Zanganeh said.
Iran supplies around 40 mcm/d of gas to Turkey and Iraq. Prudent consumption can help the country increase the meager share of its gas exports and earn more foreign currency revenues.