EghtesadOnline: Natural gas consumption has reached 85 billion cubic meters since the beginning of the current fiscal in late March, up 4% compared to the same period in 2019, head of National Iranian Gas Company Dispatching Department said.
“Thermal power plants accounted for the major share of consumption at 34 bcm in the 140-day period,” Mohammadreza Joulaee was quoted as saying by ILNA.
Close to 92% of Iran’s electricity (58,000 megawatts) is produced in 123 power stations most of which run on natural gas.
Giving a breakdown on NIGC’s output, he said 630 million cubic meters of gas is injected into the Iran Gas Trunkline (IGAT) per day since March 20, of which 200 mcm is for home user per day.
Industrial units namely cement factories comprise 24% or 150 mcm of the daily consumption.
Referring to power plants (the largest consumer), the official said daily gas delivery to power stations was 250 mcm/d in March, but has now reached 300 mcm/d.
Gas export to Iraq and Turkey averaged 25 mcm/d in the 5-month period, down 38% compared to the same period in 2019 because export to Turkey was halted for 90 days (April-June) due to a pipeline explosion inside the neighboring state.
“NIGC has the capacity to produce upwards of 800 mcm a day of gas, most of its output is used to meet domestic demand.”
Supplying gas to power plants, instead of liquefied fuels such as diesel and mazut, has not only curbed air pollution but also increased foreign currency revenue.
According to Joulaee, air pollution has been an issue in the cold season for more than a decade, as consumption of diesel and mazut increases in power plants. However, the government has undertaken a plan of action based on which it substitutes liquefied fuels with natural gas in the thermal power plants.
Iran has abundant natural gas deposits and it is more cost-effective to use gas for power generation instead of liquid fuels.
NIGC has managed to substantially raise gas production, especially in the giant South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf, to meet power plants’ demand. Nevertheless, household demand (in weather) was so high last winter that gas delivery to power plants was cut by half and stood at around 100 mcm/d.
Iran is burning off record amounts of natural gas, which is way higher than the global average.
"While average global gas consumption has observed a mild rise of 1.65% in the past three decades, Iran's demand of the fuel has hiked about 4.2% during the same period, which is alarming.
"Such consumption patterns must change,” or else there will another energy crisis,” experts have regularly warned.
A report in June by NIGC, put total gas production at 270 bcm in 2019, of which 15 bcm was exported and the balance (255 bcm) was consumed domestically. In 2017, total gas production was 214 bcm, up from 201 bcm one year ago.
Published reports by BP Statistical Review of World Energy indicates that almost 40% of Middle East gas consumption take place in Iran, an unreasonably high level by any standard.
IGAT is a series of nine large diameter pipelines built to supply gas from refineries in the south (Khuzestan and Bushehr provinces) across the country.
SP has 24 phases all of which (except for Phase 11) are now operational. The field, which Iran shares with Qatar, covers 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which (South Pars) are in Iran’s territorial waters and the rest in Qatari waters.