Iran looks to Europe and India for LNG markets

Vol 8, PW 2 (21 Apr 04) People & Policy

Pack your bags for Tehran on 25th and 26th April for Irans first Gas Export Vision Conference, hosted by the National Iranian Gas Export Company.

Neighbouring Iraq may be in turmoil, but its business as usual for Iranian policy makers preparing to host the conference and attract global gas investors. Iranian authorities, led by minister for petroleum Bijan Zanganeh and minister for economic affairs and finance Tahmasb Mazaheri, will outline Tehrans vision, for a future in which gas exports are a major driver of economic growth in the country.

After Russia, Iran holds the worlds second largest proven gas reserves with an estimated 26,000 billion cubic metres. US oil and gas companies will be conspicuous by their absence but European oil and gas companies, ignoring US antipathy towards Tehran, will be there in strength.

Shell, British Gas, Total and Statoil are sponsoring the conference, determined to win first mover advantage in developing Irans huge oil and gas reserves. Conference organiser CWC Associates of London tells PETROWATCH the potential of the European and Indian markets for LNG will be discussed in presentations from George Verberg, CEO of Gasunie and president of the International Gas Union, and Proshanto Banerjee, chairman of GAIL.

Also attending will be international contractors sniffing around for construction jobs in Irans ambitious LNG programme, the most advanced of which is the NIOC (National Iranian Oil Company) LNG project and the Pars LNG project. Two consortia are preparing EPC bids for the NIOC LNG project and last month Total and Petronas signed a Heads of Agreement for the Pars LNG project with a FEED (Front End Engineering and Design) tender expected shortly.

Two other projects are still at a conceptual stage: Persian LNG (Shell and Repsol), and Iran LNG (BP and Reliance). Irans gas development projects sit at the South Pars gasfield, which will be developed over 20 phases.

The first 10 phases are designed to supply gas for the domestic market while the next 10 phases are for export.