CNG Production Can Curb Gasoline Imports

CNG Production Can Curb Gasoline ImportsCNG Production Can Curb Gasoline Imports

Iran may have to face a fivefold rise in gasoline imports in the near future, if the ground is not prepared for increasing compressed natural gas production, a member of Energy Commission at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture said on Sunday.

"Iran is sitting on the world's largest hydrocarbon resources, but its gasoline imports could rise to 25 million liters per day if the CNG industry is not developed," Ali Shams Ardekani was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Ardekani was speaking in a press conference on the Seventh CNG Conference of Iran scheduled for January 18-20 in Tehran to explore ways of raising CNG production.

Iran imports more than 5 million liters of gasoline a day to meet domestic demand, but plans to embark on gasoline export once the first phase of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery in Bandar Abbas goes on stream.

CNG is natural gas under pressure, which remains clear, odorless and non-corrosive. Daily CNG consumption stands at around 21 million cubic meters, the senior energy analyst said, adding that expanding gas supply nationwide and enabling more vehicles to burn CNG instead or beside gasoline as fuel will help ramp up CNG exports. Ardekani criticized the way CNG stations are being managed and said the present system yields little profit to station owners. He called for building at least 1,000 more CNG stations to promote consumption, as officials put the number of active CNG stations nationwide at around 2,700.

The official described the country's present fuel distribution scheme as an outdated British system and stressed it should undergo a major reform to justify fuel station operations.

  Production Plans

Ardekani said doubling the CNG production capacity and replacing this clean fuel with more polluting fuels such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene and mazut top the country's energy development program.

"Over the past decade, Iran has become the world's biggest producer and consumer of CNG … Pakistan, Argentina, the US and Australia have the biggest CNG production and distribution networks after the Persian Gulf country," he said.

Iran has the world’s biggest natural gas reserves, holding roughly 17% of the world's proven gas reserves. The country's largest gas field, South Pars, is estimated to hold roughly 40% of Iran's gas reserves.