Gazprom and Iranian gas company expand cooperation

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MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian gas giant Gazprom and the National Gas Company of Iran have agreed upon the broadening of cooperation.

Gazprom says in the communique that, at a meeting in Moscow, its deputy board chairman Alexander Ananenkov and the NGCI managing director Mohammad Mallaki, Deputy Oil Minister of the Islamic Republic, talked the outlook for gas cooperation and agreed to expand it in a range of directions. Among them are -- search for geological structures and creation of underground gas storages in Iran; development of a general gas supply scheme and a gas transport system of Iran, possibility of Gazprom's participation in realizing pipeline projects in its territory; transfer of Gazprom experience in organizing work of control services; use of gas as motor fuel.

A protocol was signed on results of the meeting. It particularly intends the setting up of joint expert groups for directions of cooperation.

The proved reserves of natural gas in Iran constitute about 27 trillion cubic meters. The production of gas is increasing by 10 percent annually and, on the 2004 results, exceeded 140 billion cubic meters. Almost all of the gas is consumed domestically: about 100 billion cubic meters goes to commercial consumers (including 35 billion to the power stations), 40 billion cubic meters is pumped into oil-bearing beds to maintain well yields. The total length of the Iranian trunk gas pipelines is over 22,000 kilometers.

Iran's only gas producer is the National Oil Company, passing all of its gas produced to the NGCI.

The NGCI handles all the post-production gas-related operations - preparation for and transportation, processing and sale. The NGCI has eight gas-purification and -dehydration plants with a total capacity of over 380 million cubic meters a day.

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