Iran’s gas output tops 1 bcm/d amid calls for efficiency

Iran’s production of natural gas has finally topped a long-awaited mark of one billion cubic meters per day (bcm/d) as authorities urge households and businesses to become more efficient in consumption.

Hassan Montazer Torbati, a deputy Oil Minister who heads the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), said on Saturday that natural gas processing capacity in the country had reached 1.031 bcm/d.

The announcement came just two days after Iran launched a large-scale refinery to collect gas associated with crude production. The facility, dubbed Bidboland and located in an oil-rich region southwest of Iran, added some 56 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) to Iran’s total gas output.

Iran has celebrated the massive expansion of its natural gas industry as a clear blow to US attempts to choke off the growth of the country’s energy sector. While relying on its home-grown expertise and equipment, Iran keeps tapping the South Pars, the world’s largest gas reserve in the Persian Gulf.

Montazer Torbati said Iran’s national gas pipeline network is currently capable of handling 900 mcm/d of methane for household and business consumption.

However, the official warned the insatiable demand for natural gas in Iran could pose risks to the country’s energy security in the future.

He said the NIGC would introduce measures to encourage a more efficient use of natural gas.

“Ramping up production, on its own, would fail to meet the country’s demand and we should do something special about efficiency,” said Montazer Torbati.

Iran has expanded natural gas supply to deprived regions in its far southeast while switching to gas burning in many power plants that once used precious liquid fuels.

The country also plans to increase gas supply to Iraq and Turkey while engaging in talks with Afghanistan and Pakistan to launch gas export to those eastern neighbors.