Iran is in talks with the biggest floating LNG company for production of liquefied natural gas, head of the National Iranian Gas Company Alireza Kameili said on Thursday.

The company, which he did not name, will come to Iran “immediately” after sanctions are lifted on the Islamic Republic.

“Due to their high economic viability, Iran is moving in the direction of building FLNG plants,” Kameli said of a process which involves floating production of LNG above an offshore natural gas field, with liquefaction, storage and transfer all carried out at sea by a special ship.

The official made it clear that several LNG mega-projects currently halted due to the sanctions are still on track. “LNG projects are being pursued as before and FLNG is an alternative option.”

Kameli said talks also continue with many foreign parties for sales of the Iranian gas. “Currently, preliminary negotiations are underway with more than 170 foreign companies which are keenly prepared to receive gas from Iran.”

“With preliminary negotiations held, the operational and executive work will immediately begin after the lifting of the sanctions,” he added.

Last month, Kameli said Iran planned to revive its massive LNG projects with the aim of exporting to Europe.

The county had contracts with the Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Spain’s Repsol and France’s Total to build three LNG plants but those companies abandoned the projects in 2010 under US and European pressures.

Tehran sees LNG more viable than piped gas which requires a great deal of time and high costs to reach Europe.

The country plans to build a capacity for exporting 40 million metric tons a year of LNG which is super-cooled to minus 162 degrees Celsius for shipment by special tankers.

Last month, Gazprom’s deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev announced the Russian company’s interest in Iran’s LNG projects.

Iran owns the world’s largest proven gas reserves put around 34 tcm by BP in its latest review.

Much of Iran’s gas production goes to domestic consumption, with exports hardly surpassing 10 billion cubic meters a year but officials expect production to grow 71% in the next four years.

According to Hassan Montazer-Torbati at the National Iranian Gas Company, Iran will invest about 63 billion in the sector to obtain 10% of the global gas market share.

Officials say Iran’s priority for now is to send its gas to the regional markets via pipelines and resort to LNG and LPG shipments for long hauls.

Source: Press TV