Iran's Remote Regions to Benefit From Gas Grid Expansion

Iran's Remote Regions to Benefit From Gas Grid ExpansionIran's Remote Regions to Benefit From Gas Grid Expansion

An estimated $8.5 billion in projects are underway to expand the natural gas network for small towns and villages in remote areas in the southern regions, said a top advisor to the oil minister.

Mahmoud Astaneh made the statement in a ceremony held in Fars Province to supply gas to industrial and household units in the less-privileged areas of Shiraz and southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan on Saturday, IRNA reported.

He said $4.8 billion is being spent on expanding the national gas grid in urban and rural areas, $1.6 billion to integrate villages with a population of over 20 households into the national grid in Sistan-Baluchistan and $1.7 billion is for supplying 20,000 industrial units with natural gas. 

Laying 10 gas pipelines in Fars at an estimated cost of $150 million has allowed 10 towns, 689 villages and 54 industrial units to receive gas from the Iran Gas Trunkline -- aka IGAT.

Nearly 90% of the country has access to the fossil fuel and the figure is expected to reach 97% upon the completion of major gas projects within the next few years, government officials have said.

Astaneh stressed that one priority of the Oil Ministry and National Iranian Gas Company is to develop infrastructure for supplying gas as feedstock to major industries and facilitate production of goods with higher value added.

--- New Compressor Stations 

"Ten gas compressor stations are being developed in Fars, Semnan and Isfahan Provinces at an estimated cost of $770 million. They will become operational by the end of the current fiscal in March," Hamidreza Araqi, the managing director of NIGC said.

According to Araqi, currently 70 compressor stations are operating at full capacity across the national gas trunklines.

Regarding the Iranshahr-Zahedan gas pipeline, he noted that the project that is slated to be completed by the yearend is high on the NIGC priority list.

Araqi noted that the plan is aimed at delivering gas to the cities of Zahedan, Zabol, Khash, Konarak and Chabahar in the south, as well as providing the province’s power plants with feedstock.

The measure is projected to lower annual diesel and mazut consumption in Sistan-Baluchistan’s power plants by 1.4 billion liters and 550 million liters respectively.

The government has instructed power plants and refineries to use gas instead of more polluting feedstock such as mazut due to abundance of gas reserves and the rise in South Pars gas field output.

On supplying gas to northern regions, Araqi noted that as soon as the pipe-laying across the cities of Damghan, Kiasar, Sari and Neka is completed, gas supply to the north will increase to a great extent.

The initiative, approved by the government at an estimated cost of $153 million, has been shortlisted for completion.

The head of NIGC says use of natural gas can help improve economic growth  provided that good quality heating equipment is used to reduce energy consumption.

"Iran is the third biggest consumer of natural gas, consuming 10 times more than Japan," he said, and called for effective measures to change consumption patterns.

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