Iran eyeing co-op ways with SOCAR in gas export

By Temkin Jafarov, Fatih Karimov

An Iranian top official says this country is searching for ways to cooperate with Azerbaijan on the gas export issue.

"We have already signed a gas swapping contract with SOCAR and have been cooperating, while both sides are planning to expand relations in the future," Alireza Kameli, Head of the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) told Trend August.5.

"The two countries have been negotiating on joint investments in the field of gas export. Considering that Iran plans to boost its production rapidly in the next three years, the country can increase the volume of gas swap with Azerbaijan as well".

Currently, Azerbaijan delivers gas to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic owing to swaps with Iran. Azerbaijan transports about 1 million-1.2 million cubic meters of gas per day to Iran.

Kameli said that Iran is producing about 700 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) and it's expected the annual gas production growth to stand at 100 mcm/d in the next three years.

Kameli also said that Iran could receive gas from Azerbaijan in cold seasons and deliver gas in warm seasons. "But, we are currently estimating how much SOCAR can sell in excess? We are waiting to gain precise information in order to decide later".

Iran's gas consumption in its housing sector, which shares above 40 percent of total gas usage, triples in winter.

"If sanctions on Iran are lifted, more buyers and sellers of gas will be available for Iran. At present, we are negotiating with a large number of European companies. Once financial and banking bans are removed, we can expand relations".

Iran and P5+1 (the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China + Germany) reached a comprehensive nuclear deal on July 14, which paves the way for elimination of sanctions on Iran by the end of current year.

The official said that Iran’s gas production would increase by 100 million cubic meters over the course of three years. By 2018, Iran’s gas output will reach one billion cubic meters per day. Kameli added that the country is currently producing 700 million cubic meters of gas per day.

According to him, Iran puts the priority on exporting gas to its neighboring countries. Europe is not currently prioritized, because of long distances with European markets and higher transition costs. Meanwhile, more effective methods should be used if exporting gas to Europe is put on the agenda.

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