EghtesadOnline: Projects to connect 10 towns and 1,900 villages across the country to the national gas have been completed and new subscribers will join the grid this week, the National Iranian Gas Company's director for gas distribution said.
"The scheme, with a total value of 22 trillion rials [$220 million], will supply fuel to over 19,000 households in underprivileged areas with natural gas," Saeed Momeni was also quoted as saying by Shana.
All the new cities, including Nehbandan, Sarv and Shusef in the southern tip of South Khorasan Province, as well as Khur, Anarak, Jandaq and Farrokhi in the desert parts of Isfahan Province, are located in underprivileged areas.
Momeni noted that, along with the implementation of the plan, another project to link five other small towns and counties in Kerman Province, namely Boluk in Jiroft County, Faryab, Zeh-i Kalut, Anbarabad and Qaleh Ganj, will commence, according to Financial Tribune.
"The project will cover over 13,000 households in the five areas. The infrastructure for extending the grid has been provided and plans are underway to add an average of 10 villages to the grid daily," he said.
Momeni said that over 3,600 villages will join the grid by the end of the current fiscal (March 2019).
"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.
According to the official, over 26,000 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 been added to the gas grid during the same period.
According to NIGC, more than 22 million subscribers in 1,106 cities and 24,260 towns are supplied with the fuel.
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.
"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.
According to the official, close to 36,000 kilometers of high-pressure gas pipes have been laid in different parts of the country, which will be extended to 45,000 km by 2026.
"On average, 300 kilometers of the gas pipeline have been laid annually over the past four years," he said.
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.