By Dalga Khatinoglu
Regarding the six-fold deference between Iran's housing gas consumption in summer and winter which uses about 40 percent of the country's total gas consumption, Iran vitally needs to boost gas storage capacity.
Iran consumed 91 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas in its housing sector last year, 2.1 bcm more than the previous year. The housing sector's gas consumption in some weeks of summer was a little more than 100 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) while in some weeks of winter it exceeded 650 mcm/d.
Winter's high consumption rate in the housing sector creates gas shortages that force the country to cut gas delivery to power plants and industrial sector as well as re-injecting to old oil fields dramatically.
The country has two gas storage facilities, Shourijeh and Serajeh. Iran injected about 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas (bcm) to these storage facilities last summer and re-extracted 7.5 mcm/d during winter (1.021 bcm in total).
Now, Manouchehr Taheri, director of the dispatching center of the National Iranian Gas Company says that during this summer some 1.7 bcm and 2.5 bcm of gas will be injected to Serajeh and Shourijeh respectively. Iran increased gas re- extraction from these facilities by 17 percent last year, compared to the previous year.
Taheri told Shana on May 16 that Iran is evaluating gas injection to three new natural storage facilities.
If Iran is to start 120 mcm/d of gas export to Oman, Iraq and Pakistan in coming years, then the country vitally needs to increase stable gas supplies for its domestic sectors.
Iran needs double the gas re-injection to old oil fields to 180 mcm/d, while it should increase gas delivery to power plants by 60 mcm/d to 190 mcm/d to curb liquid fuels burning in electricity generation sector. However, due to gas shortages in winter, Iran decreases supplying gas to these sectors dramatically.
The other option for Iran is to use neighboring states' gas storage facilities, like Azerbaijan.
Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told Trend last November that Iran is talking with Baku about using its gas storage facility.
Azerbaijan has two natural gas storage facilities, Kalmaz and Garadag, with a total capacity of 5 billion cubic meters. The two facilities currently store only 3 billion cubic meters of gas, so Iran could store around 2 billion cubic meters of its surplus gas in the facilities, and receive them back in winter.
Edited by CN
Dalga Khatinoglu is an expert on Iran's energy sector, head of Trend Agency's Iran news service
Follow him on @dalgakhatinoglu