Gas Chief Says No Plan to Rival Russia in Europe

Gas Chief Says No Plan to Rival Russia in EuropeGas Chief Says No Plan to Rival Russia in Europe

Iran has no plans to take on Russia in Europe’s natural gas market, managing director of National Iranian Gas Company said on Sunday.

“We cannot compete with Russia in the European (gas) market. We will not take Russia’s place and have no plans in this regard… Iran has its own market and our neighbors need our gas,” Hamidreza Araqi was also quoted as saying by ISNA.

Araqi noted that Iran sits on one of the world's largest gas reserves, thus the country has the potential to significantly increase supplies to the neighboring states. He stressed that disputes over gas prices as well as political and technical hurdles should be gradually removed.

“Iran is the only country in the region which can meet all of its neighbors’ gas demand,” he said, stressing that the country’s share of the global gas trade should rise to 10% in the long run.

Iran has devised plans to expand its gas footprint to the European market alongside Russia by boosting its liquefied natural gas exports.

  Production Plans

Iran’s gas production from South Pars, the world’s largest gas field shared with Qatar, will equal the small Arab nation's output in the next fiscal year that starts in March 2017, Araqi said. He added that the company will boost total gas production to 1.26 billion cubic meters per day within four years from the current 600 mcm/d.

Referring to the unusually high domestic gas consumption in the cold season, Araqi underscored that by reducing consumption, Iran can save between 60 mcm/d and 100 mcm/d of gas and use it for producing higher value-added products.

“The injection of gas into oil reservoirs, which results in higher rate of extraction, supplying petrochemical complexes with gas as feedstock as well as replacing liquefied fuels with gas in power plants and industrial units are ways to make proper use of natural gas,” the official was quoted as saying.

  Oil Competition

Iran's slow start in the European gas market after the lifting of sanctions in January comes as the country is making inroads in crude oil supplies to Europe, some of it at the expense of Russia.

According to reports, Poland was replacing Russia's crude with Iranian oil and unsold Urals crude in August.

Polish refiner Lotos received 2 million barrels of oil from the National Iranian Oil Company in mid-August.

In addition, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said this month that his country, which faces decline in oil deliveries from Russia, is in talks with Iran to buy oil.

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