Iran warns of ‘irreparable’ sanctions impact on gas suppliers

TEHRAN, Oct. 25 (MNA) – Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji has rebuked Western sanctions “on the most important owners of natural gas reserves”, saying their impact is “irreparable”.

In an address to the 24th ministerial meeting of Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Cairo, Egypt, Owji also announced Iran’s readiness to “play a prominent role” in ensuring energy security in the world, Press TV reported.

“The development of the global gas industry and the realization of the security of supply and demand of natural gas in the world markets require global peace and de-politicization of energy trade,” he said.

“In this context, the imposition of any unilateral or multilateral sanctions on every member of the Forum is assumed, in our view, as a political action, in contradiction with the principles and standards of international law and against economic rationality,” Owji added.

The global gas crunch has hurt countries around the world and hammered European economies amid the turmoil in energy market caused by Western sanctions on Russia.

Before the Ukraine conflict, other major oil and gas producing countries such as Iran and Venezuela were already under the most draconian US sanctions.  

Owji touched on “an important and decisive role” that natural gas plays in the energy transition period, saying that due to its environmental advantages, it has significant potentials to substitute other fossil fuels, including coal.

“In addition to playing a role in providing and maintaining the world's energy security, natural gas may help to promote sustainable energy systems with less carbon emissions and improve the conditions dominating the climate changes of our planet,” he said.

The minister cited President Ebrahim Raeisi’s special initiative entitled "Natural gas at the disposal of the global economy in the post-corona era" which Iran proposed at the sixth GECF summit in Doha, Qatar, reiterating Tehran's readiness to play a prominent role within its framework.

“As one of the world’s largest holders of proven natural gas reserves and one of the largest owners of domestic natural gas distribution networks in the world, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready for whatever cooperation in various fields: natural gas exploration, drilling, development, exploitation and distribution,” he said.

Owji touched on the strategic position of the GECF member countries and their share of almost 50% in the global gas and LNG export portfolio, saying "it is pretty essential to strengthen the potentials, capabilities and required arrangements of the forum".

“Improving synergy and collective coordination will secure the interests of all members and ensure the security of global natural gas supply,” he said.

He said despite the numerous challenges that the GECF has faced in the global gas market over recent years, the forum has succeeded in strengthening alignment, coordination and cooperation among its members.

“These strategic arrangements have enabled the forum to play its key role in maintaining and promoting global energy security in the Covid and post-Covid era.

“However, we have a long way ahead of us full of uncertainties, which requires the promotion of solidarity and promoting cooperation of the members of the forum,” Owji said.

The GECF has sometimes been characterized as a gas OPEC in the making and accused of trying to building a monopoly on the market, but its members have roundly dismissed the claim. 

In his speech, Owji touched on the importance of environmental issues in the framework of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Climate Change Convention.

He said it was “essential for the GECF member countries to put on the agenda new policies aimed at reducing the amount of carbon emitted from the natural gas production process”.

In the meantime, it was “essential for developing and particularly developed countries to severely concentrate on novel technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), mitigation of methane leakage or blue hydrogen production,” he added.

“Fortunately, carbon reduction technologies from the natural gas production cycle are available to us, but in my opinion, the realization of the global ecosystem with net-zero emission (NZE), without political will, financial resources, investment in infrastructure, and serious scientific and technological cooperation of all stakeholders will not go beyond the slogan stage.”


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