Iran's Household Gas Demand Continues to Soar
Iran’s household gas demand has continued to surge, further restricting supplies to other sectors along with exports to Iraq.
Residential consumption soared to an all-time high of 599mn m3/d in the week ending January 19 as a result of colder weather, the National Iranian Gas Co. (NIGC) reported, up from a previous weekly record of 573mn m3 earlier this month. In comparison, demand averaged around 530mn m3 in January last year.
NIGC did not disclose numbers for gas usage in industry and power generation, but statistics obtained by NGW show that the company was delivering a total of 693mn m3/d of gas to households, industrial users and power generators in mid-December. This was around the same amount as was supplied during peak winter demand in February last year, but consumption in industry and power generation last month was down 60% and 58% respectively, as supplies were diverted to households.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s electricity ministry announced last week that Iranian gas imports had plunged to 4mn m3/d in January, versus 25mn m3/d in warmer seasons and equal to just 8% of the contractual supply quota of 50mn m3/d. As a result, Iraq’s power generation capacity has dropped by around a third to 13.5-14.0 GW in the last few weeks.
Iranian officials claim that five new platforms have been installed at the giant South Pars gas field since March last year, providing an extra 70mn m3/d of gas supply. But the decline in industrial and power-sector consumption and steep fall in exports suggest otherwise. Such claims have proved inaccurate in the past. Oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said last August that daily production at South Pars had reached 750mn m3, but the project’s operating company later reported flows of only 630mn m3.
According to official statistics obtained by NGW, Iran injected 652.6mn m3/d into the grid on average in the fiscal year ending March 21 2019. Meanwhile BP estimates that Iran produced 656mn m3/d of gas in 2018, up 8.8% year on year.