April 7 (Bloomberg) -- Iran plans to increase its natural gas exports as a way to diminish its reliance on crude sales, a senior Iranian Oil Ministry official said.
Iran will “witness a change in the revenues of the country from crude oil to natural gas,” said Javad Owji, managing director of National Iranian Gas Co., according to the state-run Mehr news agency. Owji, who didn’t specify how much Iran earns from oil and gas sales separately, pointed to the country’s goal to triple gas shipments to some of its neighbors.
“By signing new deals with Turkey and Iraq, Iran will increase natural gas exports to about 100 million cubic meters by next year from a current 35 million,” Owji said. Iran’s gas exports total 10 billion cubic meters per year, he said.
Iran, one of the producers of the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is battling U.S. and European Union energy sanctions over its nuclear program that have limited its oil sales. The Persian Gulf country also holds the world’s second-largest gas reserves and its gas industry isn’t subject to the same restrictions.
Iran exports some 30 million cubic meters of natural gas per day to Turkey, earning more than $3 billion annually, Owji said. He said in September that Iran plans to start supplying 25 million cubic meters of gas per day to Iraq within a year, via a pipeline being built.
Iran has also pushed ahead with plans to deliver gas to Pakistan. Last month, the two countries started work on the cross-border leg of a $1.3 billion gas pipeline that will deliver 21.5 million cubic meters of gas a day to Pakistan for 25 years.
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