EghtesadOnline: Following plans to sustain and stabilize natural gas supply to households in the winter season, the National Iranian Gas Company has cut gas delivery to cement factories across the country.
IRNA quoted the company’s dispatching department as saying that as of December 6 gas quota for cement companies will be limited to 9,000 cubic meters per day for three months until March 6, 2020.
During the 3-month period cement manufacturers should either lower production levels or tap into liquefied eco-unfriendly mazut and diesel.
Unlike previous years when NIGC stopped natural gas supply to most industries and power plants, the restriction this time is only for cement plants, which contribute terribly to air pollution all over the world, according to Financial Tribune.
Domestic gas consumption rises in the cold seasons when temperatures fall and subscribers turn on the heating devices running mostly on gas. Depending on the temperature, consumption normally is between 550 mcm/d and 650 mcm/d in winter.
NIGC’s daily output is 700 mcm/d.
Gas consumption jumped to new highs two weeks ago, reaching 690 mcm/d following the unprecedented cold wave in most parts of the country.
According to reports, the Oil Ministry compensates the cement producers’ financial loss through discounts in their mazut bills.
Advantages of cuts in gas delivery notwithstanding, the policy can exacerbate the air pollution crisis in and around mega cities as most of the cement factories continue production as usual using mazut, one of the most polluting feedstocks in the world.
Air Quality Index in Tehran on Saturday and Sunday hovered around 155, above the threshold of "unhealthy" closing all the schools that will remain shut also on Monday due to the smog.
Based on a number of polluting factors, the index categorizes conditions into good (0-50), moderate (51-100), unhealthy for sensitive groups (101-150), unhealthy (151-200), very unhealthy (201-300) and hazardous (301-500).
The index has breached the 150 threshold and in many areas in Tehran toxic pollutants topped 150.
The density of toxic pollutants has been steadily increasing since the beginning of the current Iranian month (Oct. 23), reaching levels considered dangerous not only for vulnerable folks, including children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, but also for normal urban residents.
To encourage private vehicle users to switch to public transport, Mohammad Taqizadeh, head of Air Pollution Emergency Committee, said bus and subway fares in the metropolis have been cut by half until further notice.