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News number: 8901170463

11:09 | 2010-04-06

Economy

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Iran's Natural Gas Exports Decrease by 16%

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian oil official announced on Tuesday that the volume of Iran's natural gas exports has witnessed a 16% decrease during the last Iranian year (ended on March 20).



Iran has exported 6.8 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas during the last year and that indicates a 16% fall compared with the previous year, Deputy Oil Minister Javad Oji announced.

He added that Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan Republic were the countries importing Iran's gas during the period.

Reminding that the country's gas reserves stand at 30,000 bcm, Oji stated that half of Iran's gas reserves is located in the South Pars fields.

Oji, who is also Managing Director of Iran's National Gas Company, announced that Iran produces 630 million cubic meters of sour and sweet gas per day.

Some 540 million cubic meters of gas is also processed on a daily basis in 13 refineries throughout the country, he added.

Commenting upon sanctions imposed on Iran by West, the official stressed that the move has created no obstacle on performance of Iran's National Gas Company.

Iran, which sits on the world's second largest reserves of both oil and gas, is facing US sanctions over its civilian nuclear program.

Iranian officials have dismissed US sanctions as inefficient, saying that they are finding Asian partners instead. Several Chinese and other Asian firms are negotiating or signing up to oil and gas deals.

Following US pressures on companies to stop business with Tehran, many western companies decided to do a balancing act. They tried to maintain their presence in Iran, which is rich in oil and gas, but not getting into big deals that could endanger their interests in the US.

Yet, after oil giants in the West witnessed that their absence in big deals has provided Chinese, Indian and Russian companies with excellent opportunities to sign up to an increasing number of energy projects and earn billions of dollars, they started showing increasing interest to invest or expand work in Iran.

Some European states have also recently voiced interest in investment in Iran's energy sector after the gas deal was signed between Iran and Switzerland regardless of US sanctions.

The National Iranian Gas Export Company and Switzerland's Elektrizitaetsgesellschaft Laufenburg signed a 25-year deal in March 2008 for the delivery of 5.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

The biggest recent deal, worth €100m ($147m, £80m), was signed by Steiner Prematechnik Gastec, the German engineering company, this year to build equipment for three gas conversion plants in Iran.