84% of rural areas connected to gas network: Zanganeh

Tehran Times – Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said 84 percent of the country’s rural areas are supplied with gas through national gas network, IRIB reported.

According to the minister, currently some 28,916 villages are connected to the national gas network, which is more than 84 percent of the total number of villages across the country.

“With the exception of Sistan-Baluchestan province, more than 94 percent of the country’s urban population is also connected to the national gas network,” Zanganeh said.

Zanganeh said that the target for gas supply in the country has been 95 percent for both urban and rural populations, adding that “Now we have reached 94 percent and soon we will exceed that figure.”

He put the cost of gas supply to the cities and rural areas at 192 trillion rials (about $4.5 billion), of which 157 trillion rials (about $3.7 billion) have been spent in villages and the rest was spent to supply gas to urban areas.

The official noted that one of the biggest achievements of connecting the rural areas to the national gas network is to help rangelands and forests, because considering the access to natural gas, cutting down trees and bushes is no longer economically feasible.

Elsewhere in his remarks Zanganeh underlined the increase in the country’s total gas output during the past six years, saying “gas production in the South Pars gas field [in the Persian Gulf] stood at 91 billion cubic meters in [the Iranian calendar year of] 1392 [started in March 2013] while it has reached 228 billion cubic meters in the current year.”

“The country’s total gas production was nearly 183 billion cubic meters six years ago and it has increased to 330 billion cubic meters today, that is 850 million cubic meters per day,” he added.

Back in July, National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC)’s Gas Distribution Director Saeid Momeni had said that 73.6 percent of the country’s rural areas were connected to the national gas network by the end of the current Iranian calendar year’s first quarter (June 21).

According to the official, NIGC had it on the agenda to supply gas to 10 villages every month. That meant by the end of the current year 3600 villages would be connected to the gas network.

The number of the cities connected to the national gas network, also increased to 1117, which according to the official was 96.9 percent of the country’s total urban areas.
Earlier in January, Iranian parliament (Majlis) approved a bill to allocate 50 trillion rials (about $1.16 billion) for expanding the country’s gas network to new rural areas.

According to the bill, the banks would provide NIGC and provincial gas companies with the mentioned fund under the Oil Ministry’s guarantee.