Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 10 / Trend /
By S. Isayev, staff journalist
It's no secret that Iran sometimes makes certain moves to show the neighboring countries that it's presence in the region is growing.
Yesterday, Iran's Oil Ministry issued a request to the government, asking for the proprietorship of several islands, located in the Persian Gulf, aiming to launch gas hubs in the region.
These islands are Greater and Lesser Faror islands, Hendorabi and Farsi islands. Iran's oil ministry says the islands are non-residential, lack any real infrastructure.
Establishing gas hubs in Persian Gulf, close to the Hormuz Strait is both strategically and economically important for Iran.
On one side, Iran would be able to explore new gas fields, which exist on the Islands. Establishing hubs there would allow Iran to produce gas and export it right from the hub, through the Hormuz Strait.
According to a report from Mehr news agency, Faror Islands are estimated to hold 30.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and are projected to yield about 15 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.
The Farsi Island holds around 5.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 212 million barrels of condensates. The Farzad A and the Farzad B fields are located on the Farsi Island.
As for Hendorabi Island, the seismic studies there have shown that the Island holds about 66 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Thus, according to the report, Iran could be adding some 28 million cm of gas from Farsi Island, plus about 849,000 cm of gas from Faror Islands per day.
That would be added to some 300 mcm per day of gas from South Pars field that Iran is currently producing.
By reaching out to the above mentioned smaller islands, Iran tries to get its hands on all possible resources, that can be used in country's weakened economy, and help to increase export revenues.
Expert on Iran, Reza Taghizadeh believes that the move to own the islands by the Iran's Oil Ministry is pure propaganda.
"The ministry itself does not have any money to invest into these islands, as they take money from the country's construction budget approved by the parliament," he said. "The goal to own the islands is simply to make additional revenue from gas and oil exports."
On the other side, the small islands in the Persian Gulf give Iran additional strategic points, allowing it to "expand" further, and give country a couple of extra "eyes" in the Gulf, without using extreme measures, such as closing down the Strait of Hormuz.
Since all of the four islands belong to Iran, there should be no negative reaction from other countries towards Iran's intentions.
Although, one of the islands, the Farsi Island reportedly has an IRGC Navy base there, and the island is completely restricted to public.
At this point, both options are important for Iran, although it is difficult to say if they turn out to be short term or long term goals.
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