Call for Settling Disarray Among Energy Bodies

Call for Settling Disarray Among Energy Bodies
Call for Settling Disarray Among Energy Bodies

Disparate and often conflicting views in Iran's state-run energy organizations and a lack of conformity of long-term plans with policies have thwarted development in the country's energy sector. Mansour Moazzami, the head of Energy Commission of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, made the statement, IRNA reported.

"The National Iranian Oil Company says it is the principal energy supplier to consumers, while the Energy Ministry says it is the country's main water and electricity provider," said Moazzami, who is also the head of the Industrial Development & Renovation Organization of Iran.

"But the question remains on how the energy would actually be provided."

He added that the most profitable form of consuming natural gas—an abundant fossil fuel in Iran after crude oil—has been a publicly divisive issue between the oil and energy ministries. Oil Ministry is pursuing plans to ramp up gas exports. Energy Ministry says consuming gas as feedstock to produce and export electricity is commercially more sound than selling gas.

The discord partially lies in new openings for the development of the two equally underlying sectors following the lifting of sanctions against Iran in January.

The scaling back of most trade and financial embargos has allowed the Middle East nation to seek new markets overseas for its excess gas and electricity, with the government trying to equally push forward both sectors.

The dilemma is also fueled by the global downturn in the crude oil market that has dragged down the price of natural gas and drawn an uncertain prospect for the future of Iran's two most important commodities.

  Culprit and Cure

Moazzami underlined a lack of conformity, failing to meet the parliamentary legislation concerning energy consumption, the intervention of different bodies in policymaking, underinvestment in aging energy infrastructure and low energy efficiency nationwide restrain Iran from tapping into its huge potential in the energy sector.

To address these challenges, the official suggested that a central and unified governing system should come into force to override the conflicting policies of different bodies. Moazzami also called for revising the price of energy carriers, despite public resistance against lifting the government's lofty subsidies off energy items.

Government officials say Iran's gas and electricity tariffs are among the cheapest in the world and blame the cheap and easy access for the profligate use of energy in the country.