Iran’s Gas in EU by 2016?
While general discussion focuses on the prospects of Iran starting natural gas exports to Europe via pipeline or LNG shipment by 2020, a senior Iranian gas official says the country is in talks for the use of floating LNG vessel serving to liquefy and transit Iranian gas to Europe sooner.
In its fourth 5-Year National Develop Plan (2005-2009), Iran set targets to produce 70 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the South Pars, North Pars, Ferdosi and Golshan gas fields by launching six LNG production facilities, but all of them was cancelled due to sanctions.
Recently Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh discussed resuming a 10-million ton LNG production project with Germany’s Linde AG during his visit to Berlin.
Iran also has negotiated building mini LNG plants with Russian Gazprom.
However, Alireza Kameli, managing director of National Iranian Gas Exports Company told Shana on July 4th that Iran has been negotiating with the “world’s biggest company in FLNG shipping serving to transfer Iranian gas to Europe in 7 to 12 months.”
Floating LNG can take natural gas in coast, liquefy, store and transfer that to markets overseas.
Kameli didn’t name any company, but it seems he refers as saying “the biggest FLNG shipping server” to Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which its CEO Ben van Beurden travelled to Tehran in June. This company which has a $2.3 billion debts to Iran also owns the biggest FLNG ship in the world.
Shell’s Prelude FLNG facility able to produce at least 5.3 million tons per annum (mtpa) of liquids: 3.6 mtpa of LNG – enough to easily satisfy Hong Kong’s annual natural gas needs – 0.4 mtpa of liquefied petroleum gas and 1.3 mtpa of condensate (equivalent to 35,000 bbl/d), the company’s official website says.
Previously, the deputy head of National Iranian Gas Company Monouchehr Davoudi, mentioned Shell company’s capacity to serve Iran with FLNG facilities during an article, published on Oil Ministry’s official website.
Responding to Iran's FLNG shipping needs, Nureddin Wefati, the head of media relations, MENA, at Shell EP International Ltd. told Natural Gas Europe that “There is no possibility for Shell to move forward with new business in Iran until there has been significant change in the sanctions environment. Shell is committed to complying with all the relevant international sanctions. Meanwhile, we are closely monitoring the political and legal developments and their implications on restrictions imposed on IOCs”.
Iran and P5+1 reached a political nuclear agreement in early April and attempt to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal by July 7th to pave the way for lifting western sanctions imposed on Iran.
Kameli also said that NIGEC is seeking LNG projects in the country as well while keeping an eye on FLNG projects.
He said NIGEC is in talks with more than 170 foreign companies which have repeatedly aired their willingness to return to Iran once the sanctions are lifted.
Dalga Khatinoglu is an expert on Iran's energy sector and head of Trend Agency's Iran news service.