Iran is prepared to double its natural gas production by 2017 even if Western sanctions against the country stay in place, a senior Iranian energy official says.
“Over the next three years, our plan is to increase production to 1 billion cubic meters (bcm) per day,” Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araqi told Bloomberg.
He added that Iran’s daily gas output will increase to 680 mcm in winter, up from 550 mcm.
Iran, which sits atop the world’s largest natural gas reserves, is working on four new phases of the giant South Pars gas field that will produce 100 mcm a day, the official added.
The NIGC chief further said the oil-rich country exports 30 mcm of gas a day, mostly to neighboring Turkey.
Araqi added that Tehran is ready to start pumping gas to neighboring Iraq by next April to feed its power plants.
“Right now we only have a contract to supply Baghdad,” Araqi said, adding, “We will be ready to export gas if they can be ready to receive it from us. If they can’t, then we can use it for our own supply needs.”
Iran has agreed to export 25 mcm a day of gas to Iraq, but the gas delivery will start at seven mcm per day.
The 270-kilometer pipeline stretches from the village of Charmaleh, located in Iran’s western province of Kermanshah, into the town of Naft Shahr on the border with Iraq.
The pipeline, which is estimated to earn Iran USD 3.7 billion a year in revenues, will be fed by the massive offshore South Pars in southern Iran.
South Pars, which Iran shares with Qatar in the Persian Gulf, is estimated to contain 14 trillion cubic meters of gas and 18 billion barrels of condensate.
In 2012, the US and the European Union (EU) imposed tough restrictions against Iran’s energy sector. The ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers have raised hopes of sanctions relief for Iran.