By Dalga Khatinoglu
Alamdar Babayi, the director for major repairs at South Pars Gas Complex Company, announced on July 6 that the fifth refinery of South Pars gas field, with capacity to produce 57 million cubic meters of gas per day, is under repair.
With five refineries, Iran produces 240 million cubic meters of per day from the South Pars gas field.
It is while the oil ministry's latest report suggests that in the past two weeks the liquid fuel consumption of the country's power plants has been doubled.
According to SHANA News Agency, some 2.02 billion liters of liquid fuel (diesel oil and mazut) was consumed in Iran in the first two weeks of summer (145 million liters per day). The figure was around 1.044 million liters (some 150 million liters per day) in the last week of spring.
Iran's total liquid fuel output (including gasoline, diesel oil, mazut, and kerosene) is a little more than 265 million liters per day. In another words, the country's power plants consumed over 55 percent of the total liquid fuels produced in the country, which is twice the consumption rate of previous year in average.
According to the oil ministry, Iran's power plants averagely consumed 28 billion liters (less than 77 million liters per day) of liquid fuel in the previous year.
Iranian household's consumption accounts for over 80 percent of the country's total gas consumption in winter. So the government limits transferring gas to power plants, and instead delivers liquid fuel to the plants. But in summer the ministry has enough gas to meet the power plants' demands.
For example, in January, Iranian households' gas consumption was four times more than the summer, and some 3.6 billion liters of liquid fuel (some 120 million liters per day) were consumed by power plants.
Iran's household gas consumption was around 450-480 million cubic meters per day in the cold months of previous year, while the figure was around 120-130 million cubic meters in summer.
The figure of liquid gas being transferred to the power plants this summer is nearly twice the previous year and even more that winter.
The reason behind the fact is still unknown. However, Seyyed Zaman Hosseini, the managing director of Tehran Regional Electric Company, told Fars News Agency on July 6 that due a problem the flow of gas to the country's power plants have been limited, so in order to avoid any blackout the oil ministry was forced to use the liquid gas that was stored for winter.
He didn't give any information about the cause of the problem.
Iran's electricity consumption has also been on the rise this summer. According to the energy ministry, the consumption peak on July 1 was around 2,100 megawatt more than previous year, standing at 44,174 megawatt.
However, the rise in electricity consumption could have been compensated with gas; and a 100-percent rise in liquid fuel consumption in power plants to compensate for 5 percent increase in electricity consumption is rather strange.
Iran has 75 power plants with the liquid gas reserves enough for 45 days. The power plants have the capacity to receive over 200 million cubic meters of gas per day, but due to gas shortage the country meets around 40 percent of the power plants' needs with liquid fuel during last year.
A quick look at Iranian power plant's gas consumption rate in the first 14 days of previous summer shows that the country faced no problem in providing enough gas back then.
Iran's total gas consumption in February two years ago was a little over 505 million cubic meters per day. Power plants and industrial units' consumption accounted for 141 million cubic meters of the mentioned amount, while the household's consumption was a little over 364 million cubic meters. It is while over 240 million cubic meters of gas were delivered to power plants and industrial units in July same year.
Iran's gross natural gas output currently stands at 570 million cubic meters per day.
Dalga Khatinoglu is specialist on Iran's energy sector and Iran News Service head in Trend Agency