Fueling Change: Iran’s Plans for a Regional Natural Gas Hub

In an ambitious strategy to reshape the regional energy landscape, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji announced on Wednesday that Iran is working closely with Russia, Qatar, and Turkmenistan to establish a natural gas hub in the Persian Gulf.

Set to be located in Asaluyeh, a port and energy hotspot nestled in the southern Bushehr province along the Gulf coastline, this hub aims to capitalize on Iran’s vast natural gas reserves – the second-largest globally. Owji assured that arrangements are being meticulously planned, with the full cooperation of their partner nations.

“We’re harnessing the combined efforts of Russia, Turkmenistan, and Qatar to inaugurate a gas hub in the Asaluyeh region. The groundwork is being meticulously mapped out,” said Owji, as quoted by Iranian media.

Iran’s natural gas reserves are estimably prodigious, totaling approximately 32 trillion cubic meters and accounting for a staggering 16% of the world’s reserves. They are only surpassed by Russia, while exceeding those of Qatar, Turkmenistan, and the United States. The country’s South Pars offshore field in the Persian Gulf, a shared asset with Qatar, is the primary site of these gas reserves. In 2020, production from this field alone totaled 234 billion cubic meters, translating to a daily average of 645 million cubic meters.

However, unlocking the potential of these vast reserves has been an uphill battle. The departure of Western supermajors such as TotalEnergies, following the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions against Tehran by former President Donald Trump, has proven a significant roadblock.

Yet, Iran remains undeterred. The country has been nurturing closer relations with Russia and Venezuela, both countries also grappling with U.S. and Western sanctions. In a recent development, Iranian officials and a Russian delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak explored the joint development of up to ten oil and gas fields in Iran. This proposition, hailing from the Iranian side, aligns with their broader strategy of developing other oil and gas resources within the country.

The plan to establish a natural gas hub is a testament to Iran’s resolve to navigate geopolitical challenges and leverage its robust energy reserves to gain a stronger foothold in the regional gas market.