With the start of winter and cold season, the National Iranian Gas Company declared, “we have entered a gas crisis” and asked the people to turn off the heaters for six hours a day.
On January 13, the state-run ILNA news agency quoted Mohammad Reza Jolayee, Dispatching Manager of National Iranian Gas Company, as saying, “The situation of gas shortage in the country has now become critical… Currently, 850 million cubic meters of gas per day are produced in the country, and in the last 24 hours, the consumption of domestic and commercial sectors has reached 700 million cubic meters per day.”
Several factors are involved in the current situation, Jolayee added. “One is the continuation of the same situation, that is, if one day the consumption figure is 700 million cubic meters, we do not have any problem. But if the next day, consumption is in the same range, we will face difficulties. Continuity and point pressure are also important. In general, if the consumption exceeds 650 million cubic meters, we have entered a gas crisis.”
Jolayee emphasized that to get out of this situation, the figure of gas consumption must be reduced to below 570 million cubic meters per day, 100 million cubic meters less than the current consumption.
In this regard, Ham-Mihan daily reported that the gas deficit has reached more than 200 million cubic meters per day.
Blaming the people for gas shortages
The country with the second-largest gas reserves in the world does not have the capacity to produce its domestic needs, and to cover residential consumption. It first cut off gas to large industries, including cement, steel, petrochemical, and power plants. Now the government is planning to close offices in northern provinces. Reports also pertain to the closure of industrial districts and power outages in some areas due to gas shortage.
On Saturday, the governorates of Tehran and East Azerbaijan provinces announced the closure of offices, banks, universities, and schools to manage gas consumption.
During the past days, the situation was similar in other provinces, including Gilan, Kurdistan, Semnan, Alborz, West Azarbaijan, Ardabil, and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad.
The Iranian regime is laying the blame for the energy crisis on the people. In this regard, regime officials are advising people to wear warm clothes, switch off heaters for six hours a day, and only heat one of the rooms in their homes.
On January 15, interior minister Ahmad Vahidi said, “People should cooperate in gas consumption. The main solution out of this energy crisis is to save and change consumption habits.”
Winter is coming
Earlier this year, Iranian officials promised an energy crisis in Europe and the beginning of a “harsh winter” in this continent after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, Iran is now facing one of the worst energy crises in recent years.
Keyhan daily, close to the regime’s supreme leader, wrote in October this year: “Europeans eat less so that they can pay electricity and gas bills.”
Despite this, to cover up the depth of gas crisis in Iran, government newspapers and news agencies continuously publish statistics about the energy crisis in Europe.
Keyhan daily claimed on January 14 that the citizens of Western countries have turned to burning cat waste to generate heat due to the lack of gas.
Corrupt management of natural resources
The regime compensated for gas shortage with mazut in power plants, which is causing severe air pollution. “People’s suffocation” is the description of the Majlis (parliament) member about this situation. Ahmad Zeraatkar, the head of the Energy Bureau of the Organization of Planning and Budget of Iran, said that the country will face a gas shortage crisis for at least another 20 years.
The corrupt management and structure of the government prevented necessary investment in the oil and gas sector. Although Iran has not been successful in exploiting its energy fields and its current output does not fully meet domestic needs.
One of the reasons the regime stubbornly insisted on its demands during nuclear talks with world powers was illusions and misconceptions about the “harsh winter” in Europe. The reduction of Europe’s gas imports from Russia reinforced the idea that Europe is going to appease mullahs and look for new sources to fill its energy deficit. But now more than 20 provinces are engulfed in bone-chilling cold and Iran has to beg for energy resources from its neighbors.