EghtesadOnline: The natural gas grid will cover 3,600 villages across the country by the end of the current fiscal (March 2019), the National Iranian Gas Company’s deputy for gas distribution said.
Saeed Momeni also said the infrastructure for extending the grid has been provided and plans are underway to add an average of 10 villages to the grid every day, Shana, the Oil Ministry’s official portal, reported.
“The funds will be provided from an amendment to the Budget Law of the fiscal 2013-14,” he added.
The amendment calls for the Oil Ministry to embark on oil and gas projects in upstream and downstream sectors to expand the country’s output capacity and meet domestic demand and export capacity, Financial Tribune reported.
According to the official, some 26,013, villages, constituting 73.6% of the country’s rural areas, have been added to the grid since 2014.
The move follows the government’s goal to join 99% of urban and 90% of suburban population to the gas network by 2020.
Over 1,117 cities accounting for 96.9% of the country’s urban areas have also been added to the gas grid during the same period.
“The Oil Ministry has taken steps to remove budgetary constraints to finance gas ventures across the country and replace natural gas with liquid fuels in household and industrial sectors,” he said.
Pointing to rural residents’ access to natural gas, Momeni said less than 55% of the population were connected to the grid in 2014, but the figure is set to increase to 90% by 2020.
According to NIGC, more than 22 million subscribers in 1,106 cities and 24,260 towns are supplied with the fuel.
According to energy experts, including Hamidreza Araqi, the head of NIGC, the expansion of national gas network not only generates more jobs, but also creates energy security.
“Besides feeling secure about energy supply, natural gas helps the country improve health and welfare conditions, generate more jobs and increase revenues. A considerable number of industrial units, supplied with natural gas, will increase value added and lower air pollution,” he said.
Araqi said creativity in planning and ideation play a key role in NIGC, as it needs fresh ideas to invest in new areas.
Araqi noted that using good quality heating equipment reduces energy consumption.
Iran is the third biggest consumer of natural gas, consuming 10 times more than Japan.
The country is expanding gas infrastructure, as it looks to raise daily gas production to 1.2 billion cubic meters by 2021 from the present 880 million cubic meters.