All Power Plants to Switch to Gas

All Power Plants  to Switch to GasAll Power Plants  to Switch to Gas

All power plants will use natural gas as feedstock in the next Iranian calendar year (starts March 2015), human-environment deputy at the Department of Environment (DoE) said, Shana news agency reported Sunday.

"In order for all power plants to use natural gas instead of mazut, gas consumption in households should decrease," Saeed Motesaddi said. "Consumption of mazut has been reduced in power plants and petrochemical complexes are also increasingly turning to gas."

Gas consumption in power plants reached an average of 100-110 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) in the past 9 months, up from 80 mcm/d in the same period last year.

Iran's power plants need a daily 160 mcm/d of feedstock, of which 40 mcm is mazut and 10-15 mcm diesel.

Reducing the consumption of heavy and highly-polluting fuels in power plants and industries to zero is one of the priorities of the DoE, he noted.

To help curb air pollution, power plants and industries have been instructed to use gas instead of mazut and diesel in the cold seasons. Normally, power plants consume less gas, and more mazut and diesel in winter to meet the increased household need during the cold period. According to national plans, mazut production is expected to be cut to less than 10 percent in all refineries by 2025.

The DoE official said gas supply to power plants faced difficulty this winter due to "poor planning," but the problem will be addressed next year. He did not elaborate.

Iran has the world’s second biggest natural gas reserves after Russia. The country's largest natural gas field, South Pars, is estimated to hold roughly 40 percent of Iran's gas reserves.

The DoE official stressed that gas can be supplied to all power plants if consumption of households is cut by 10-20 percent.

Around 400-500 mcm/d of gas is consumed in the household sector. Motesaddi insisted that supply of gas to households is a top priority, with power plants and industries coming next.

  Supply Tripled

Supply of gas to power plants saw a 3-fold increase in mid-December compared to the same period a year ago, spokesman of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said.

Majid Boujarzadeh said an estimated 35 mcm/d of gas was delivered to power plants in the last days of fall, but the volume reached 110 mcm/d in the past several days.

He predicted further rise in gas consumption when a cold wave hits the country by the end of the week. However, he assured that there would be no problem in supply, as gas export to Turkey and import from Armenia is steady.