National Iranian Gas Company
The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) was established in 1965 as one of the four major subsidiaries of Iran's Ministry of Petroleum with an initial capital of 25 billion Iranian Rials. The NIGC is responsible for Iran's natural gas infrastructure, its transportation and distribution. Iran has the second-largest natural gas reserves in the world, behind Russia, and in 2010 produced about 138.5 billion cubic meters, good for fifth place globally.
The managing director of the NIGC as of January 2012 was Javad Owji, who also served as Iran's Deputy Oil Minister. As of 2009, the NIGC had a permanent staff of about 18,000 persons, with another 18,000 working in a contractor capacity.
In addition to its transportation and distribution of Iranian natural gas, the NIGC provides advisory, engineering and studies services and manages the operations of Iran's natural gas projects, including pipelines, gas supply networks, and power plants. In terms of providing gas for fuel, the NIGC has an important position both domestically, where it fulfills over 60 percent of demand, and abroad. The NIGC manages about 30,000 kilometers of gas transmission pipelines and a network of up to 125,000 km of gas distribution pipelines. As part of its plan to expand its natural gas sector, the NIGC announced in February 2011 an agreement with Syria, Iran's main Arab ally, to build a 1,995 kilometer pipeline to carry Iranian gas to Syria across Iraq to power electricity generating plants. Then in January 2012 the NIGC signed a contract with Iran's Bank Saderat worth $4 billion for the construction of a new gas refinery, called Bidboland 2, and a unit for production of ethane gas at the refinery at Pars.
A major subsidiary of the NIGC is the National Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC), created in 2003 to manage and to supervise all gas pipeline and liquid natural gas (LNG) projects in Iran. The NIGC has focused not only on exports and marketing, but also on raising finance and investment for Iranian gas projects, including overseeing upstream projects. The NIGEC was under the control of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) until mid-2010, when it was incorporated under the NIGC as a way of integrating Iran's state-owned gas industry structures and speeding up development. Subsequent to this reorganisation, the NIGC was to establish two integrated departments: one focusing on gas imports, exports, transit, gas swaps and upstream ventures, and the other on LNG projects.
Impact of Sanctions
NIGC was listed by the British government in 2009 as an entity of potential concern for WMD-related procurement, and has had export licenses both granted and denied by that government. Licenses were denied, according to the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills, due to unacceptable risks of diversion to a WMD program of concern.
NIGC website: www.iraniangas.ir/Site.aspx
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