EghtesadOnline: Covid-19 pandemic has raised natural gas consumption in the household sector by 30 million cubic meters per day over the past six months compared to a year ago, head of the National Iranian Gas Company Dispatching Department said.
“Close to 555 mcm of gas is used by this sector daily, which is at least 30 mcm/d more than in 2019,” Mohammadreza Joulaee was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Due to the outbreak of the deadly respiratory disease and the need to comply with hygiene protocols, families have to wash their hands and appliance frequently and preferably with warm water that is why water heating systems, almost all of which use gas, are being used more than previous years, he added.
The official said household gas consumption is predicted to surpass 650 mcm/d in winter, in which case delivery to power plants that is now around 245 mcm/d will dwindle by 145 mcm/d to reach 100 mcm/d.
“Total gas output in Iran is around 880 mcm/d, of which 40 mcm is exported to Iraq and Turkey (per day).”
Although most power stations across the nation run on gas, close to 23 million liters of liquefied fuel, namely diesel and mazut, are also used in some thermal plants (per day) which have limited access to gas including Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan Province and Tabriz in East Azarbaijan Province and Arak in Markazi Province.
How much gas can be transferred to thermal power units this winter will depend largely on household consumption and if home use rises less gas will be delivered to power stations, he noted.
Close to 92% of Iran’s electricity (58,000 megawatts) is produced at 123 power stations, most of which use natural gas.
Supplying gas to power plants, instead of liquefied fuels such as diesel and mazut, not only curbs air pollution but also increases currency revenue from exports.
Joulaee recalled that air pollution has been a major concern in the cold season for more than a decade because consumption of diesel and mazut increases in power plants.
Iran has abundant natural gas deposits and it is more cost-effective to use gas for power generation instead of liquid fuel.
NIGC has managed to raise gas production, especially in the giant South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf, to meet demand from power plants. However, household use was so high last winter that gas delivery to power plants was cut by half.
Iran is burning record amounts of natural gas, which is way higher than the global average.
"While average global gas consumption has risen by 1.65% in the past three decades, demand of the fuel in Iran has shot up 4.2% in the same period, which is alarming.
"Such consumption patterns must change, or else there will be another energy crisis,” energy experts and conservatives have 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 was consumed domestically. In 2017, total gas production was 214 bcm, up from 201 bcm one year ago.
Iran reported 3,500 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus on Sunday, taking the national tally to 446,000. Some 26,000 have lost their lives.