Iran stops transiting Turkmen LPG in a bid to boost exports - report

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb.19 / Trend F.Mehdi/

Iran has stopped transiting Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from Turkmenistan with the goal of increasing exports of domestically produced LPG to international markets, the Mehr News Agency reported.

Iran has boosted the production of LPG in its refineries and has officially stopped transiting Turkmen LPG.

"Under economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic, hiring foreign tankers for exporting liquefied gas has been made difficult, so exporting LPG to Iraq and Pakistan is economically justified in such a situation," Hamid Hosseini, the member of the Iranian oil, gas, and petrochemical exporters told Mehr.

LPG comprises propane and butane. Last solar year, Iran exported $2.06 billion worth of propane, and $1.3 billion worth of butane, according to Iran's Customs Organization, but new figures show that Iran's total propane export during the first eight months of the Iranian solar year (starts on March 20, 2012) is $900 million, and butane disappeared from Iran's first five non-oil export items list.

The country sold $3.5 billion worth of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) last year.

In August 2012, the Fars News Agency reported that the volume of LPG produced in different units across Iran has witnessed a 54 percent increase during the first four months of the current Iranian year (started on March 21).

According to manager of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) for Coordination and Supervision of Production Mehdi Jamshidi, over 466,000 tons of Liquefied Petroleum Gas have been produced in Iran during the first four months of the current Iranian year, showing a 54 percent increase compared with the same period last year.

On January 14, the Pana News Agency reported that Iran has created infrastructures for swapping up to 6 million liters of oil products at northern regions of the country.

In recent years taking improper policies by the Iranian administration has reduced the volume of swaps to a great extent, so that some 6270 tons of liquefied gas has been swapped between Central Asia and Iran since the beginning of the current yea, compared with 21,188 tons in the past year.

National Iranian Gas Company Managing Director Javad Owji said in October 2102 that imports of natural gas from Turkmenistan into Iran have decreased by 52 percent over the first half of the current Iranian year (March 20-September 21, 2012) compared to the same period of last year.

In August 2012, deputy oil minister Alireza Zeighami announced that Iran has launched a liquefied gas swap route in the Caspian Sea.

The Mehr News Agency quoted Zeighami as saying that swapping other oil products, such as furnace oil, is currently underway with the Caspian Sea littoral states.

Between 15,000-30,000 barrels of crude oil is swapped per day despite sanctions against the Islamic Republic's oil industry, the official noted.

The EU banned importing Iranian crude oil and covering insurance for Iranian oil carrying tankers for European companies. EU insurance companies cover about 95 percent of tankers in the world.

The main reason is the Western sanctions on Iran's oil and petrochemical export sector, as well as the lack of LPG carrying ships in Iran. According to an OPEC report, Iran has only one LPG carrier with 12,000 cubic meters capacity.

EU companies that cover 95 percent of oil and petrochemical ships' insurance, have halted providing services for ships that transport Iranian oil or LPG.

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