Iran, being the holder of the largest natural gas reserves in the world, is seeking to double gas output to 1 billion cubic meters a day by 2017. This will include mostly production from the South Pars field, according to the information provided by Hamid Reza Araghi, CEO of the state-run National Iranian Gas Co. The country currently produces up to 50 million cubic metres of gas daily. South Pars, which together with Qatar’s North Field comprises the world’s largest gas deposit, is working on four phases, but the field will add 100 million cubic metres by March next year. Mr Araghi also stressed that the company’s forecast was that during the upcoming winter, Iranian output would be 680 million cubic metres including output from fields other than South Pars.
The country’s economy is hampered by international sanctions imposed over the notorious nuclear program. As a result, revenues from crude oil exports have decreased since 2012 and financial woes have also complicated the efforts to develop more gas resources. Thus, Teheran is trying to remove restrictions on foreign direct investment in its energy sector as the 24 November deadline for nuclear talks with the United States is approaching. However, the country is planning to achieve its target for 2017 even if sanctions are not relaxed.
Iran exports 30 million cubic meters of gas a day, most of which heads for Turkey. Teheran has also signed a deal to commence supplying power plants in Iraq by April next year. Exports are expected to go up to 25 million cubic metres a day in three years. The country is planning to increase the supply to include buyers in Iraq’s Kurdish region and Basra, the country’s south province. The volume of Iran’s gas supplies to Iraq however depends on the outcome of negotiations between both governments. Teheran commented that when it comes to gas exports, Iran is not concerned about the security situation in the neighbouring countries. “Those are matters for Iraq,” Mr Araghi said. He also added that Iran would be ready to export gas if Iraq is ready to receive it from them.” If they can’t, then we can use it for our own supply needs,” he explained.