Iran is preparing to host a summit of the world's major gas producing countries against a backdrop of growing prospects for major Iranian gas exports in the near future despite persistently high domestic demand.
According to Oil Ministry, the meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) on November 23 will bring together major producers including Russia, Qatar and Algeria as well as Iran, IRNA reported.
The 12-member GECF, which holds 67 percent of the world's gas reserves, accounts for 64 percent of global LNG exports and 42 percent of cross-border pipeline trade.
Iran will be hosting the meeting in the wake of the deal reached with P5+1 group of six major powers (US, Britain, Russia, France and China plus Germany) on July 14 over the country's nuclear program — an agreement which will pave the way for the lifting of international sanctions against the country.
Iran, which holds the world's biggest gas deposits with 34 trillion cubic meters in proven reserves, hopes that with the lifting of the sanctions in the first half of 2016 the country will be transformed from being not just a major gas producer but a major gas exporter as well.
"Iran would be able to export 200 mcm/d (million cubic meters a day) of gas in four years," said Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamidreza Araqi. That is the equivalent of 73 bcm/y (billion cubic meters a year) — or roughly half of the 147.7 bcm that Russia — the world's biggest gas exporter — supplied to Europe in 2014.
Iran certainly possesses the resources to make this happen. Alongside the supergiant South Pars field, operated by the Pars Oil and Gas Company and containing some 14 tcm, Iran has dozens of fields under development or waiting to be developed.
The Iranian Central Oil Fields Company (ICOFC) which operates 14 gas fields and 11 oil fields and produces 93 bcm/y of gas, has operational rights in 30 undeveloped gas fields as well as 19 oilfields. To date, the company has prioritized development of South Gisho, Khartang, Halgan, Sepid Baghoon, Zire and Gordan gas fields with the aim of producing more than 40 mcm/d (14.6 bcm/y) of gas in the next few years.
The National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) also produces 16 percent of Iran's gas, while alongside a plan to gather 6.2 mcm/d of flaring gas. The company also plans to increase gas productionl.
Iranian Offshore Oil Company is also planning to gather 10.2 mcm/a of flaring gas.
Overall, Iranian gas production (including flared and recycled gas) is expected to reach 1,000 to 1,100 mcm/d (365 to 400 bcm/y) by 2020. Currently, Iran has a capacity to produce 680 mcm/d (about 248 bcm/y) of gas (including flared and recycled gas), while its sweet gas output capacity is about 550 mcm/d (200 bcm/y). Around 300 mcm/d (109.5 bcm/y) of Iran's total sweet gas production came from South Pars and this volume is expected to double by 2020.