EghtesadOnline: The sharp rise in household gas consumption due to the cold weather has resulted in cutting gas supply to other sectors, including cement factories and power plants. In the past week feedstock (natural gas) supply to some petrochemical plants was reduced or completely cut off.
According to Eghtesadonline website, Pardis Petrochemical Complex in Asalouyeh, Bushehr Province, has reported that its urea and ammonia units have ceased production because gas supplies were discontinued.
Khorasan, Zagros and Kermanshah petrochemical plants have also announced cuts in their gas. The amount of natural gas supplied to Mobin, Marjan and Shiraz petrochemical complexes as feedstock has been reduced, Financial Tribune reported.
Although petrochemical units share the same problem as cement factories and thermal power stations in being deprived of gas, their situation is worse.
While cement and power plants continue operating by replacing natural gas with liquid fuels such as diesel and mazut, petrochemical companies are forced to stop or decrease production since there is no substitute for their feedstock (gas).
What is common and indeed regrettable among all three (industrial, petrochemical and power) sectors is that the developments have had adverse consequences.
Using diesel and mazut instead of gas in power plants and cement factories increases emission of greenhouse gasses.
As more liquid fuels are burnt, more toxic fumes are released into the atmosphere making a bad situation worse so far as air pollution is concerned.
At least seven power stations (Tous and Mashhad in Khorasan Razavi, Neka in Mazandaran, Shahid Rajaee in Qazvin, Sahand and Tabriz in West Azarbaijan and Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan Province) have started using eco-unfriendly mazut to generate power.
Undermining Forex Revenues
Furthermore, decline in production at petrochemical plants also means decline in foreign exchange earnings.
Currently, 56 petrochemical plants are active in different regions with annual output at around 66 million tons, half of which is consumed domestically in various industries and half is exported.
Currently, 350 types of petrochemicals are produced in Iran for which there is high international demand.
Many countries buy Iranian petrochemicals, including neighboring states, China, India, Southeast Asia and Europe.
Shutting down petrochemical units will have a negative effect on local market as well as exports.
The National Iranian Gas Company announced last week that the household gas consumption had reached a record 573 million cubic meters a day.
Domestic gas output reached 850 million cubic meters a day. The residential sector is the largest consumer (and the first priority), followed by power plants, industries and petrochemical companies.
Almost all households in cities and close to 80% of rural folks are linked to the national grid.
Close to 18 million households in urban areas and 4.5 million families in rural regions are linked to the Iran Gas Trunkline. Domestic gas consumption has been rising constantly in the cold season.