Iran’s natural gas exports exceeded 9.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2011, up 9.9 percent from the year before, despite the Western sanctions against the Iranian energy sector, a new report says. According to the report by Italy’s third biggest oil and gas company, ENI, Iran produced over 150 bcm of natural gas in 2011, a figure that makes the Islamic Republic the fifth biggest gas producer in the world and the second in the Middle East after Qatar.
Iran’s natural gas production witnessed a 3.9-percent increase in 2011 compared to a year before, accounting for 4.5 percent of the world's total gas production, the report added.According to the report, Russia remained the world’s biggest gas producer (663.55 bcm) followed by the US (637.72 bcm) and Qatar (160.73 bcm). In 2011, world’s total gas reserves increased by almost 2 percent, while production by the European Union fell by 11.5 percent compared with 2010. The US and EU have imposed unilateral financial and energy sanctions on Iran over its nuclear energy program, claiming that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in that program. Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of International Atomic Energy Agency it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. PG/SS