EghtesadOnline: The completion of its largest liquefied natural gas venture, known as "Iran LNG", will change Iran into a major player in the global gas market, the former secretary-general of Gas Exporting Countries Forum said.
"Undertaking incomplete projects and devising plans to develop new initiatives for producing as much as 50 million tons of LNG per annum can help guarantee the country's share of natural gas exports in international markets," Mohammad Hossein Adeli was also quoted as saying by Shana, the Oil Ministry's news agency.
Reportedly, Iran LNG project, at Tombak Port, approximately 50 kilometers north of Assaluyeh Port in Bushehr Province, has made a 60% progress with an investment of $1.85 billion. Talks are underway to complete it in two years at a total cost of $3 billion.
According to the official, Iran should focus on LNG exports, as shipment of liquefied gas is less risky compared to piped exports and is more cost-effective for long-distance consignments, Financial Tribune reported.
"We have an abundant supply of this clean, affordable and reliable resource that will let us power our nation for generations to come," he added, noting that copious amounts of the resource can present an opportunity for the country to become an influential global energy player. Highlighting the challenges to export LNG, he said, "A robust natural gas export policy will not only augment energy leadership but also help grow our economy, strengthen our national security interests and protect our environment."
Adeli believes that there is no consensus among Iranian officials over gas export. "Although some insist on delivering the commodity to households, power plants and petrochemical complexes to produce more value-added goods, there are those who claim LNG exports can bring more benefits to the country since it can consolidate Iran's position as a major energy supplier," he said.
The official noted that as long as officials, including those who are in charge in the National Iranian Oil Company and parliamentarians, as well as other politicians who "reserve their right to interfere in NIOC's decisions", do not adopt a unified policy on the issue, devising a long-term roadmap to attract investment to implement new plans will be next to impossible.
Loss of Opportunities
Procrastination in developing LNG projects will deprive the sector of opportunities. Referring to hostile policies against Iran, Adeli noted that the US and Saudi Arabia will continue to make concerted efforts to confine NIOC's role in foreign markets by presenting alternative choices instead of Iranian gas proposals.
"While Iran was conducting feasibility studies to transfer the fuel to Europe, the US invested heavily in Baku-Ceyhan pipeline not to let Iran take advantage of its strategic position," he said.
The 1,768-kilometer crude oil pipeline in the Caspian Sea connects Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and Ceyhan, a port on the southeastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
Asked about the Iran-Pakistan Peace Pipeline that is aimed at helping export Iran's natural gas to Pakistan and India, the energy expert said although Islamabad is in dire need of Iran's gas, it has failed to show sufficient determination to complete the pipeline due to US pressure and imports LNG that is not economically viable.
"Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, TAPI, project has replaced [the India Pakistan] Peace Pipeline to further isolate Iran in the international market," he said.
Adeli concludes that the world needs more gas and more energy, so if coherent policies are drawn up, the much-needed investment to run LNG projects can be attracted and then Iran could be a game changer in the gas market.