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Chabahar Power Plant to Receive CNG as Feedstock

Chabahar power plant in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.Chabahar power plant in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.

Plans are underway to supply compressed natural gas (CNG) as feedstock to a power plant in south Iran, an official at the National Iranian Gas Company said.

"The gas-fired Chabahar power plant (in Sistan-Baluchestan Province) is the first power station in Iran to receive CNG for electricity production," Saeed Momeni was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on Friday. He did not specify when the gas supply would begin.

The power plant currently receives part of its feedstock from a 14-inch pipeline stretching 20 kilometers from the port of Chabahar off the Sea of Oman.

CNG is made by compressing natural gas and is composed primarily of methane. Unlike natural gas which is typically transported through pipelines, CNG is carried via ships or on land using special trucks.

The measure obviates the need for making huge investments in gas transportation infrastructure, Momeni noted. However, he did not say whether CNG supply in the long-term would be more economically viable compared to gas delivery via pipeline.

"Using CNG in power stations stabilizes the supply of feedstock to power plants and also helps rein back considerable costs for pipeline design and construction," said the official.

"In this new method of feedstock supply, it is imperative to build CNG storage tanks at or near the power plant," Momeni added.

Using CNG for electricity generation is in line with plans to replace polluting feedstock, such as mazut and diesel, with cleaner and more eco-friendly fuels at power stations and refineries.

Around 80% of thermal power plants in Iran reportedly burn natural gas for electricity generation. 

Momeni said that CNG transportation is an efficient and cost-effective means of gas supply to remote and deprived regions, notably Sistan-Baluchestan Province in southeast Iran.

According to reports, NIGC started operations to extend the national gas grid to Sistan-Baluchestan in 2005, but the project has since been plagued by financial and operational setbacks and persistent delays.

Hamidreza Araqi, the chief executive of NIGC, said in December that pipe-laying work in the city of Zahedan, north of Sistan-Baluchestan, will be completed in the spring of this year and the gas pipeline will be extended to other cities in the region all the way to Chabahar south of the province.

According to government officials, an estimated $8.5 billion in projects are underway to expand the natural gas network to small towns and villages in remote areas in the southern regions.

 

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