Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji has described as “unprecedented” an average annual increase of 60 million cubic meters (mcm) per day in natural gas use by households and businesses in the country.
Owji said on Thursday that the rise in demand for natural gas in Iran had come despite the fact that the country's production of gas had increased by only 25 mcm per day in mid-December compared to last year.
He said that the Oil Ministry will impose hefty fines on nearly 30% of household and business customers whom he said were heavy consumers of natural gas in Iran.
Reports on Wednesday suggested that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council had authorized the use of fines and other punitive measure against heavy consumers of natural gas.
Owji made the remarks while on a tour of the headquarters of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) where officials said household and business use of natural gas had increased by more than 11% year on year in mid-December to an average of 600 mcm per day.
NIGC’s head of dispatching operations Mohammad Reza Joulayi said Iranian household and business demand for natural gas is expected to reach an all-time high of 650 mcm per day in January when temperatures across the country will drop to below zero.
Joulayi said Iran’s total natural gas production had increased to 977 mcm per day in December of which some 843 mcm were being supplied to the national gas grid.
He said that power plants and industries had also burnt 10% more natural gas on average this month compared to December last year.