TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Extensive studies to locate sites for storing natural gas along the western banks of Iran’s southwestern Karoun River have finished, leading to identification of 40 potential storage facility, said an official with the Iranian gas company on Wednesday.
“Increased storage of natural gas could improve stability of gas exports and help meet the rising local consumption,” Managing Director of Natural Gas Storage Company (NGSC) Masoud Samivand told the Tasnim News Agency.
He added that the volume of gas injected into and withdrawn from Sarajeh storage facility has increased this year and that gas would start to be injected into Shorijeh storage site as of the beginning of the next Iranian year (starts on March 21, 2014).
Shorijeh gas storage facility is the largest gas storage facility in the country and will stock more than 700 million cubic meters of gas for possible withdrawal during the cold season.
The storage facility could take 10 million cubic meters of gas per day in the first phase while will yield 20 million cubic meters per day when it is needed.
After completion of its second phase, the facility will be able to take 20 million cubic meters and deliver 40 million cubic meters of gas per day.
The first Iran’s gas storage facility with 3.3 billion cubic meters capacity was inaugurated last year in Sarajeh, near Qom city, in early January.
Natural gas reservoirs are meant to store excess gas during low-demand periods and to be withdrawn during periods of peak demand periods of the year.
In addition to offsetting the seasonal variation in demand, storing natural gas provides a temporary insurance against any form of interruption in the supply network.
The United States and Russia store the most amount of natural gas in the world with a current estimated stockpile of 110 and 90 billion cubic meters respectively.
Iran exports natural gas to Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, and receives pipeline imports from Turkmenistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Since 2000, Iran’s annual natural gas imports have exceeded its exports in all but two years (2010 and 2012). In 2011 and 2012, Iran accounted for less than 1 percent of global dry natural gas imports and exports, a small figure considering the country’s vast reserves.
Iran is particularly dependent on imports during winter months, when residential heating demand peaks during colder weather.
Although it is second to no country in terms of gas reserves, Iran’s own consumption has risen more markedly than its production – caused by heating, power generation and oilfield reinjection needs- to make it a net importer.
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