EghtesadOnline: Supplying thermal power plants with liquefied fuels must be given the top priority, otherwise recurring power cuts will continue in fall and winter, the head of the Energy Ministry's Crisis Management Department said.
“Power stations’ inventories are half full and not taking appropriate measures will result in frequent outages in the coming seasons,” Meysam Jafarzadeh was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
Natural gas supply to power plants was cut last winter due to the rise in home gas consumption and more mazut and diesel were used, he added.
According to the official, gas demand in households and industries is predicted to rise in winter, meaning power stations will have to burn liquefied fuel to keep generating power.
“As many power plants have been operating at full capacity in summer, they will require a total overhaul that will adversely affect electricity production in winter,” he said.
“An estimated 1 billion cubic meters of gas will be injected into the Iran Gas Trunkline [IGAT] per day in winter [Dec 21, 2021-March 20, 2022] to meet a projected rise in winter demand. Of the total [1 bcm/d], 700 mcm/d are expected to be used in the household sector, up 30% compared to the present 500 mcm/d.”
The weatherman has forecast a cold winter this year because of which gas delivery to power stations will be cut to 50 mcm/d (as last year) unless families rethink their high consumption patterns.
As an example, he noted that average daily natural gas consumption in Tehran Province alone (80 million cubic meters) is the equivalent of the production of three phases of the giant South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf.
Referring to other sectors, the official said petrochemical companies and industries will receive 110 mcm a day.
According to Mohammad Reza Joulaei, the head of the National Iranian Gas Company’s Dispatching Department, the National Iranian Gas Company remains committed to its export contracts and 70 mcm of gas will be sold to Iraq and Turkey per day in winter.
Total gas production has reached 1 bcm/d, of which 700 mcm/d are generated by South Pars and the rest is produced by the Iranian Central Oil Fields Company that has three subsidiaries, namely West Oil and Gas Production Company, East Oil and Gas Production Company and South Zagros Oil and Gas Production Company.
According to the NIGC official, the Covid-19 pandemic has raised natural gas consumption of households by 30 mcm/d in the past six months compared to a year ago.
“Close to 500 mcm of gas are used by this sector daily, which is 30 mcm/d more than in 2019,” he added.
Although most power stations in Iran use gas, close to 23 million liters of liquefied fuel, namely diesel and mazut, are also used in thermal plants (per day) that have limited access to gas, including Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan Province and Tabriz in East Azarbaijan Province and Arak in Markazi Province.
Joulaei noted that how much gas will be supplied 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.
Close to 92% of Iran’s electricity (68,000 MW) are produced by 123 power stations, most of which use natural gas.
Supplying gas to power plants, instead of diesel and mazut, not only curbs air pollution but also helps increase revenue from exports.
NIGC has managed to raise gas production, especially in the South Pars Gas Field, to meet demand from power plants. However, household use was so high last winter that gas delivery to power plants had to be cut by half.
Iran burns record amounts of natural gas, which is way higher than the global average. While average global gas consumption has risen by 1.65% in three decades, demand for the fuel in Iran has shot up by 4.2% in the same period.
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 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 owned by Qatar.