The managing director of Iran's LNG Company, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), says Tehran is in talks with seven foreign firms to sell Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Ali Kheirandish said on Saturday that since Indian companies have delayed to finalize their deal with Iran, negotiations are underway with three European and four Asian companies for selling LNG, Mehr news agency reported.
He added that a new precondition has been set for continuing gas talks with the consortium of Indian companies.
"The results of gas talks with the consortium will be officially announced in the near future," Kheirandish said, without giving the details of the precondition.
Last year, negotiations were held between the NIOC and a consortium consisting of three Indian firms for investing in Iran's LNG projects and selling six million tons of LNG to them.
It was expected that the Indian side would declare its final decision for buying Iranian LNG shipments, investing in South Pars gas field, and 40 percent participation in the Iran LNG project by March 21.
In November, the Iranian Oil Ministry gave an ultimatum to the Indian firms to officially announce their decision on their participation in the biggest phase of South Pars gas field, developing Farzad-B gas field, and participating in Iran LNG project.
Kheirandish also stated that negotiations are now underway with several foreign firms, underlining that Iran has no worries about the LNG market.
"The prospects for supply and demand in east and southeast Asia indicate that although Qatar, Nigeria, and Yemen sell 14 million tons of LNG in the region, this market is not saturated yet," he said.
The Iranian official further pointed out that China is constructing 12 terminals for receiving LNG shipments, meaning that the country plans to increase its LNG imports.
"This by itself shows that China has made plans for importing up to 70 million tons of LNG per year. On the average, every year over five million tons of LNG is added to China's demand. ... Considering the rise in demand, supply of LNG by Qatar, Nigeria, Yemen, Malaysia and Australia cannot fully meet the needs of this market," he noted.
Earlier in December, Kheirandish said Iran would soon start exporting LNG to Argentina and Cuba. Iran LNG is a plant under development at Tombak port in the southern province of Bushehr - approximately 50 kilometers north of Assalouyeh Port and 15 kilometers southeast of Kangan - and will be connected to South Pars gas field by a 135-kilometer subsea pipeline.
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