When and How Can Iran Deliver Gas to EU?

When and How Can  Iran Deliver Gas to EU?When and How Can  Iran Deliver Gas to EU?

For the first time since 2009, several upstream gas projects were inaugurated in 2014, leading to 80 million cubic meters of gas production increase, but when and how can Iran export its gas to Europe?

Although a large increase in gas production level was achieved during the current year, statistics indicate that the consumption growth runs ahead of output gains, Natural Gas Europe reported.

Natural gas consumption of the housing sector has reached around 450 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) as winter is approaching. According to the National Iranian Gas Company’s statistics, this volume is about 90 mcm/d more than last year, while the temperature is similar. During last year’s November, the housing sector consumed 365 mcm/d, about 12 percent more than the previous year.

Iran, with 33.6 trillion cubic meters of proved gas reserves, ranks second in the world, after Russia, but faces gas shortage every winter.

Natural gas accounts for approximately 70 percent of the country's total energy consumption, which passed 1.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent last year. Today, about 575 mcm/d of gas is produced, without any significant surplus for export. About 8.4 billion cubic meters of gas per annum (bcma) is exported to Turkey and a little less than this volume is imported from Turkmenistan.

Around 2 bcm of gas is stored in two storage facilities, Sarajeh and Shourijeh, during summer and re-extraction of gas started during last weeks. There is no significant stored gas to meet consumption growth.

The petrochemical sector needs 35 mcm/d of gas. Power plants need 220 mcm/d of gas, but liquid fuels were replaced with natural gas as fuel for power plants, led to burning about 28 billion liters of diesel and fuel oil and decreasing gas consumption. The country supplied only 98.6 mcm/d of gas to power plants during last year in average.

Moreover, 80 percent of operating oil fields are in their second half-life and face 8 to 13 percent oil production. These fields need 290 mcm/d of gas injection, but about 77 mcm/d of gas was injected during last year.

Then at least 300 mcm/d of extra gas is needed to be injected into old oil fields and stop burning liquid fuels in power plants. The share of power plants in air pollution is about 40 percent, while air pollution costs $16 billion for the country annually, according to the World Health Organization.    

Iran has focused on the giant South Pars gas field since mid-2013. This field with about 30 trillion cubic meters of natural gas is the world's largest gas field, shared between Iran and Qatar.

Once phases 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18 are fully complete by 2016, the country’s total gas output would reach 730 mcm/d and if all remained phases are completed by 2020, gas output would reach 1.1 bcm/d. 

Taking into account the fact that domestic gas usage growth is projected to stand at 3.5 percent until 2020, Iran would have 400 mcm/d of extra gas (disregarding the needed gas to stop liquid fuels burning in power plants, and gas injection to oil fields) to export abroad.

With regards to household gas consumption this summer being three times less than in winter, there should be no problem exporting gas to the EU by 2020. However, gas storage capacities inside or outside of country should increase.

Iran is exporting gas to Turkey and already has the infrastructure to supply more 15 mcm/d of gas. By developing some infrastructures, the capacity of gas delivery to Turkey would reach 100 mcm/d. It’s expected the Trans Anatolian Pipeline will be operational in 2018 and with construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline, the Caspian basin gas would be delivered to Europe by 2019. Then Iran can join gas suppliers of these pipelines by 2020.