EghtesadOnline: Close to 90% of manufacturing and industrial units in 23 industrial towns across South Khorasan Province are connected to the national gas grid, the managing director of the provincial gas company said.
“Of the total 1,700 industrial units in the region, 1,200 were linked to the network over the past two years," Mahmoud Hashemi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The Infrastructure for natural gas delivery to manufactures cost the regional gas company 1,500 billion rials ($15 million at the rate of 100,000 rials qouted for a USD then) and has helped reduce burning eco-unfriendly liquefied fuels like diesel by as much as 50 million liters per year, he said.
With increase in supply of gas to industries located in less developed areas helps cut the flow of migrants to large cities hunting for jobs, he added.
The official was of the opinion that expanding the national gas network helps create jobs and contributes to economic growth. Moreover, industrial units that use natural gas increase value added and have a smaller CO2 footprint.
Referring to development plans in the poor areas in the province, he said three projects to connect 101 underprivileged areas in rural South Khorasan to the national gas grid were completed in 2019.
"The schemes, including 290 kilometers of pipeline, cost $12 million and supply gas to 6,000 plus households in disadvantaged regions."
Giving a breakdown, Hashemi said the first venture, Sarbisheh-Nehbandan gas pipeline, was an undertaking of the National Iranian Gas Company.
"The 127 km pipeline was laid in less than a year," he said, noting that now there is no need for CNG in the area.
About the second project, he said a 33km pipeline links Shusef, a remote town on the southern tip of the province, to the network. Besides the pipeline, two gas pressure reducing stations and cathodic protection systems for underground pipes were installed to control corrosion.
As for the last venture 5,000 households in Nehbandan country were connected to the grid. Hashemi noted that laying the 130km pipeline plus installing five gas pressure reducing stations was completed in two years.
In related news, IRNA quoted Hassan Montazer-Torbati, head of the NIGC as saying that there are close to 102,000 industrial units in Iran of which 80% have access to piped gas and the remaining will join by next March.
Regarding the “positive effect” of a directive issued by the Economic Council of the government to banks in 2018 to lend $20,000 to industry owners for connection to the grid, he said the plan expedited the gas supply process.
An estimated 9,000 small towns and villages have joined the grid since 2014 and the number is expected to reach 12,000 by March.
The NIGC has 23 million subscribers in 1,148 cities and 24,260 small towns.
Approximately 300 kilometers of the gas pipelines have been laid annually over the past four years and infrastructure expansion is a continuous process in the remote areas and difficult terrain across the country.
South Khorasan Province is located in the northwest and has two border checkpoints, namely Birjand and Mahiroud and four border markets of Dokohaneh, Mil 78, Mil 73 and Yazdan along 460 kilometers of border with Afghanistan.