5 April 2022 - 10:12
  • News Code: 455132
Iran Gas Industry, Dormant Giant: Expert

TEHRAN (Shana) – A senior expert in energy economics says that the world looks at Iran's gas industry as a dormant giant and is aware of its capabilities in the field of gas and oil. "Good management and governance in the energy sector always requires avoiding haste," he said.

The sixth summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), which was held in Doha on February 22, should be included in the list of important events in the gas sector; the event, which Iran attended at the highest level, emphasized that the international community should prevent any unilateral and coercive action, such as US sanctions against the oil and gas industry of the forum’s members and do not acknowledge them.

Members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum account for 44% of world gas production, 67% of world gas reserves, 64% of pipeline gas transmission and 66% of liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade. President Seyyed Ibrahim Raisi stressed at the meeting: "The international community must prevent any unilateral and coercive action, such as the harsh US sanctions against the oil and gas industry of the members of the Forum, and not recognize it."

Iranian Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji also stated at the extraordinary meeting of the GECF (February 21) that unilateral and extra-legal sanctions against members of the Forum not only violate international law, but are also a major cause of uncertainty in the global energy market.

Read the conversation of the Oil and Energy Information Network (Shana) with Fereydoun Barkeshli, head of the Vienna Energy Studies Group, focusing on one of the most important events in the gas sector in the calendar year of 1400 which ended on March 20.

How do you assess holding of the sixth summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum?

The sixth summit of gas exporting countries, which was held on February 23 in Doha, was one of the most important events in the gas sector in 2022. The World Gas Forum has held six meetings in its 20 years of existence, and was the most important summit of the member states, observers and guests, according to the contents of the reports of the GECF secretariat in Doha. The atmosphere of the sixth GECF summit reflected the fact that the Forum had left behind the initial process of formation and proof of existence and has now entered the phase of maturity and evolution. The world experienced the same with OPEC. From 1960 to 1975, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was mainly involved in the exchange of information, statistics, reports, and consultations. It was in the early 1970s that OPEC re-established its position following the war and the subsequent oil embargo on several Western countries. I believe that GECF is gradually entering the process of effective presence in the world gas market.

How much do you think the current insecurity in the gas market is due to the sanctions on some GECF members?

The US government has used sanctions as a lever to manipulate energy supplies, mainly oil and gas, for decades. The fact that a government sanctions about 18% of the world's natural gas reserves and deprives the world of access to an efficient and clean energy source is a violation of the energy security of consuming countries. The same policy has been used on oil and other energy sources. Sanctions aimed at manipulating gas supplies and endangering global energy security are an international crime. The European Union is the biggest loser with regard to US policies, but it has consciously decided to keep its eyes closed. Today, Europe depends on only one source for 40% of its gas. Recent events in Ukraine have shown how much Europe has suffered as a result of US sanctions against Iran and some other countries. As now, gas prices in Germany have risen by 45%.

Sanctions are an international crime. For years, sanctions against countries have become one of the most important principles and pillars of American foreign policy. Countries around the world, both those that have been sanctioned and others that have lost their energy security today as a result of the sanctions, need to have a tribunal to consider the crimes and consequences of sanctions. The no-to-sanctions campaign needs to be considered.

What is your suggestion for a more prominent role for Iran in GECF?

OPEC was founded in 1960. Five developing oil producing countries created the organization. Iran played a pivotal role in the formation of OPEC. At that time, Iran was the only country among the five founding members to enjoy a national oil company and senior oil experts familiar with the principles of oil management. In 1960 in Geneva, 14 of the organization's 25 experts were Iranian. Experts from other countries were either absent or present at the OPEC Secretariat for internships and learning from Iranians. About 40 years later, when the Gas Exporters Countries Forum was established, more or less the same situation existed. The best experts and managers of the forum are Iranian.

But what the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran is in GECF needs to be discussed from several angles. When Iran proposed establishment of the forum and held its first ministerial meeting in Tehran, the country was on the verge of becoming a major gas exporter. This did not materialize. Iran's assessment of production and export capacity did not correspond to the reality. Investment and technology transfer were not done in a timely and sufficient manner. We were very excited about demand, supply networks and consumption. Consumption for thermal use was prioritized. A comprehensive assessment of the areas of investment, technology and gas economics was not conducted.

But the world views the Iranian gas industry as a dormant giant. The world is aware of Iran's capabilities in the field of gas and of course oil. The development of the gas sector in the process of economic peace and security, makes sense and requires a long-term view, of course, good management and governance in the energy sector always requires avoiding haste.

What are the most important steps that GECF can take to stop greenhouse gas emissions?

We need to make a few points about tackling greenhouse gas emissions, which have become one of the most serious issues in societies over the last decade. Climate conventions have regularly tightened the siege against gas and oil-exporting countries. Undoubtedly, decarbonization and combating greenhouse gas emissions are crucial. Today, the United States, China, and the European Union emit about 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, followed by oil and gas producers. The countries that are the largest consumers of gas are blaming GECF and OPEC for the current conditions, and in the face of a shortage of supply that they are to blame, are pressuring producers to ramp up their output.

I believe that the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, OPEC and OPEC+ countries need to form their own independent climate convention; given the Paris and Glasgow conventions, gas and oil producing countries are in a marginal situation.

What role can gas as a clean fuel play in alleviating the world's energy poverty?

As mentioned earlier, gas is the cleanest source of energy among conventional fuels. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum is on the path to the goal that gas is not a source of transit fuel and the transition from oil. Gas has an independent identity. The role of gas is different from the role of oil. The world in the early decades of the twentieth century looked at oil as a source of transit energy. With oil, the transition from coal to solid-to-liquid began, but gas is an energy source with an independent identity and a variety of other uses.

News Code 455132

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