Iran investing over $1.5bn on gas network in deprived region

Press TV – Iran’s Oil Ministry is investing more than $1.5 billion on completing the national gas grid in the deprived and remote regions bordering Pakistan.

Head of the National Iranian Gas Company said on Sunday that works to link up cities and towns in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan to the national gas network had made a significant progress over the past months.

Hassan Montazer Torbati said expanding the gas pipeline network in the sprawling province had become the flagship project of Iran’s natural gas sector.

Sistan and Baluchestan, the second largest but one of the poorest of the 31 Iranian provinces, has become a focal point of government’s development plans over the past years.

That province has a long coastline on the Sea of Oman where Iran is seeking a massive expansion of the maritime and port infrastructure to facilitate regional trade.

The completion of the gas grid in the province would be a great boost to businesses in the port of Chabahar, Iran’s largest Ocean port which is being developed through partnership with India, the country that seeks access to markets in Afghanistan and countries in Central Asia through Sistan and Baluchestan.

Montazer Torbati said gas network was more than 76 percent complete in the provincial capital of Zahedan, where some 31,000 households had now access to the utility service, adding that construction of pipelines and other installations was going on simultaneously for seven other cities in the province.

He said a total of 310 factories and industrial units across the province will be linked to the gas network, including 81 that have already started using the service.

The official said that linking Chabahar to the national grid would pave the way for massive development of petrochemical industries on the Sea of Oman.

He said a 300-kilometer pipeline is under construction to link the port city to the city of Iranshahr, located to the center of Sistan and Baluchestan.