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EghtesadOnline: All industrial units are expected to be connected to the national gas grid by the end of 2021, head of the National Iranian Gas Company said Saturday.

"There are close to 102,000 industrial units in the country, of which 80% have access to piped gas and the remaining units will be linked to the network by 2021," Hassan Montazer-Torbati was quoted as saying by ILNA.

Regarding the “positive effect” of a directive issued by the Economic Council of the government in 2018 to give $20,000 in loans to industry owners to connect their units to the grid, the official said the plan helped expedite gas supplies to industries.

"Industries that have not yet joined the network consume 5,000 cubic meters of gas per hour," Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.

Energy experts, including Torbati, say expansion of the national gas network creates jobs and adds to energy security.

Furthermore, extending the piped gas infrastructure contributes to higher revenues for the treasury. Industrial units that use natural gas increase value added and reduce air pollution, he noted.

"The gas grid covers 97% of urban and 79% of the suburban population," the NIGC boss said.

Close to 9,000 small towns and villages have joined the grid since 2014 and the number is expected to reach 12,000 by next March.  

Pointing to the extension of piped gas to rural areas, he said, "Less than 55% of the population was connected to the grid in 2014. The figure rose to 77% in 2017 and plans are underway to increase it to 90% by 2020."

The official, however, concurred that extending the network to remote and mountainous areas in which the number of households is less than 20 is not economically feasible. The company is obliged to supply such regions with alternative fuels, namely bottled gas and liquid fuels.

Asked about the total number of NIGC subscribers, he put the number at 22 million subscribers in 1,148 cities and 24,260 in small towns.

Approximately 300 kilometers of the gas pipelines are  laid annually over the past four years and infrastructure expansion continues in the remote areas and difficult terrain across the country.


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