Press TV – Iranian authorities say an unusual bout of cold weather hitting Iran in the middle of autumn has caused a record surge in the daily consumption of natural gas.
A senior official at Iran’s Oil Ministry said on Wednesday that natural gas consumption in the country had reached a record high of 693 million cubic meters (mcm) (nearly 24.5 billion cubic feet) over the day before.
“Over the past decades, we have never witnessed such a cold and precipitation in Aban (October-November),” said Mehdi Jamshidi, adding, “The amount of gas consumption has always been lower that the current figure.”
Jamshidi said nearly 75 percent of the natural gas was being consumed by the households, over 18 percent in the industries and the rest went to the power plants across Iran.
Another Oil Ministry official said that delivery of compressed natural gas (CNG) to motorists had increased by 2 mcm a day after the government increased the price of gasoline over the weekend.
Hassan Qolipour said CNG consumption had topped 21 million cbm a day on average since Friday, when fuel price hikes were announced. He said consumption is expected to further increase by another 2 cbm a day in late October when car owners are expected to run out of a 60-liter quota of subsidized gasoline.
Iran currently produces more than 870 mcm of natural gas a day while estimates suggest the output could reach 1 billion cubic meters (over 35 billion cubic feet) by 2020 if development plans for South Pars gas field, located south of the country, are implemented on time.
Most of Iran’s gas output is serving a rising domestic consumption. The government says more than 93 percent of the population, including those living in rural areas, is connected to the national grid while plans are in place to reach a full coverage by March 2021.
Iran’s export of natural gas mainly targets the neighboring countries with Iraq being the main customer with 20 to 25 mcm of imports each day.