An official at the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said that Iran plans to almost double its natural gas production to 200 billion cubic meters a year by 2012.

“We are investing heavily in developing our gas sector, and increasing capacity, despite the hurdles that are facing us,” Saeed Ghavampour, head of NIGC’s strategic studies told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

Iran currently produces about 110 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, including 12 billion cubic meters which are exported to Turkey and Armenia, Ghavampour said.

Meanwhile, the official said negotiations on the stalled one billion dollar Crescent Petroleum agreement to supply the state of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates with gas piped from Iran’s Salman field have resumed.

The deal, which stalled over a pricing dispute, is expected to be signed within six months, Ghavampour stated.

“The (Iranian) government said the negotiators had underestimated the price of Iranian gas and negotiations have started again to agree on a new pricing mechanism,” he said.

Once the deal is finalized, it would then take around 18 months to build the infrastructure to supply the gas, which could be up to 30 million cubic meters a day, he said.

(Zawya)