News ID: 135367
Published: 0658 GMT January 20, 2016

No sales of LNG shares to foreign companies: Official

No sales of LNG shares to foreign companies: Official

A senior energy official dismissed reports that Iran planned to sell shares in the country's frontrunner LNG scheme to foreign companies.

The rebuttal on Wednesday by Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) Alireza Kameli came after another official was quoted as saying that NIGEC planned to sell at least 20 percent of its 49-percent share in Iran LNG project.

"The National Iranian Gas Export Company has no plan to put on tender the shares of its LNG production projects to foreign investors and oil companies," Kameli was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

Along with Iran Oil Pension Fund, which holds the remaining 51 percent stake, NIGEC hopes to complete Iran LNG in less than three years, General Manager of Marketing at NIGEC Mostafa Sharif was quoted as saying recently.

Iran LNG was among three liquefied natural gas production projects which the country planned to operate in conjunction with Royal Dutch Shell and Total.

Two of the projects — Pars LNG and Persian LNG — were suspended after sanctions were imposed on Iran in 2012, "but Iran LNG is being completed because its investors were Iranian companies and funds", Kameli said.

"In view of its progress, it is economically viable to complete and commission this plant under present circumstances," he added.

With more than 34 trillion cubic meters in proven reserves, Iran owns the world's largest natural gas reserves but its share of the global gas trade is less than one percent. Officials hope to attract $40 billion in the gas industry now that sanctions are lifted.

Iran seeks to raise gas production to 1.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) a day in five years, from 800 million cubic meters now. Its annual output totals 166 bcm, which is mostly consumed domestically.

German industrial gases group Linde has already offered to help Iran complete its LNG projects.

Foreign companies are also weighing $800 million-$1 billion in investment in floating production of LNG from associated gas at offshore fields in the Persian Gulf, a senior energy official has said.

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