Iran General NewsIran gas exports rise 35 pct in 2009-10-official

Iran gas exports rise 35 pct in 2009-10-official

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ImageReuters: Iran's gas exports will have increased by around 35 percent in the year to March 20 while imports will fall by 25 percent compared with the previous year, a senior energy official was quoted as saying on Monday. ImageTEHRAN, March 8 (Reuters) – Iran's gas exports will have increased by around 35 percent in the year to March 20 while imports will fall by 25 percent compared with the previous year, a senior energy official was quoted as saying on Monday.

Iran sits on the world's second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia, but U.N. and U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme and other factors have slowed its development as a major exporter.

Javad Oji, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company and a deputy oil minister, said Iran's gas producing capacity amounted 630 million cubic metres per day, the official IRNA news agency reported.

He added: "Gas import and export volumes have decreased by 25 percent and increased by 35 percent respectively in the current year compared to last year." He did not give details.

The Iranian year ends on March 20.

Iran currently exports gas to Turkey and Armenia, plans to export to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, among others, and wants to take part in the 7.9 billion euro ($10.81 billion) Nabucco pipeline project transporting gas from the Caspian and Central Asia.

However, a dispute over its nuclear energy programme, which Tehran denies is a cover for building an atomic bomb, has prevented Iranian involvement in the project.

International sanctions over the disputed nuclear programme have slowed its development as a major exporter, by hindering access to modern Western technology.

Western firms have become increasingly wary of investing in the country due to the long-running nuclear dispute. But Iran is still drawing interest from Indian, Chinese and other Asian firms seen as less susceptible to international pressure.

Iran's South Pars field is part of a huge gas field shared with Qatar that makes up the world's largest pure gas reserve. (Reporting by Ramin Mostafavi; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Jon Boyle) ($1=.7307 Euro)

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