Iran is world's third largest producer of natural gas, despite sanctions

2021-11-09 16:29:27
Iran is world's third largest producer of natural gas, despite sanctions

Iran produced 267 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2019, making the country the world’s third-largest producer after the US and Russia despite the most draconian sanctions imposed on the country.

The US sanctions have affected Iran’s energy exports, financial transactions, and imports of certain technologies, but natural gas production in Iran has grown steadily over the past two decades despite, the US Energy Information Administration wrote on its website.

While the EIA estimated Iran's total dry gas production in 2019 at 8.4 trillion cubic feet (237.8 billion cubic meters) which still made the country the third biggest producer, official figures have put it at 267 billion cubic meters.

Iran’s domestic natural gas demand, which the sanctions do not affect, has been the main driver of Iran’s natural gas production growth. According to officials, total gas production will hit 500 billion cubic meters in 2041.

Much of the growth in natural gas production comes from development of the offshore South Pars field in the Persian Gulf.

In February, former Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Iran’s gas production had hit the record high above 1 billion cubic meters a day, a milestone reached three years after the US imposed its most draconian sanctions ever on the Islamic Republic.

The sanctions have discouraged international energy companies from dealing with Iran, but they have provided a rare chance for domestic firms to venture into a setting known to be an exclusive specialty of the elite club of companies.

When French oil and energy company Total ended participation in Phase 11 of Iran’s giant South Pars gas field in 2018, China's state-owned energy major CNPC was said to be ready to take over the stake but the company also suspended investment in response to US pressure.

In January 2020, Zanganeh announced that Iran’s Petropars would develop Phase 11 of the world’s largest gas field.

Natural gas production at South Pars began in 2003, and so far, 23 of the 24 development phases have started producing. Phase 11 is the largest of the phases which currently produce 70 percent of natural gas consumed by Iranian households.

At maximum capacity, the South Pars natural gas field could annually produce 9.49 trillion cubic feet (268.7 billion cubic meters) of natural gas.

Iran holds the fourth largest oil reserves and the largest natural gas reserves in the world, and is considered an energy superpower, but its domestic consumption is disproportionately high and rising.


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