Middle East

Winter cold cuts gas and power to Iran homes, industry

Iranians shop at the main bazaar in Tehran on June 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE

DUBAI: Cold and snow have cut off power to more than 480,000 homes in northern Iran, reduced feedstocks for petrochemical plants and led to a drop in gas supply pressure in some cities, the energy ministry news service said on Monday.

Low temperatures have spread across much of Iran over the past few days, and heavy snow has cut power to well over a million people near the Caspian Sea coast of northern Iran.

Soaring demand for heating has also slashed supplies of gas to petrochemical plants on the Gulf coast of southern Iran, forcing operators to fall back on their stocks in storage to meet demand, the Shana news service said.

"Petrochemical plants have stored enough products so the market is faced with no problem," Abbas She'ri Moqqadam, head of the state-run National Petrochemical Company, told Shana.

Iran has huge gas reserves and exports small quantities to Turkey, but it has been unable to increase production quickly enough to meet its own voracious appetite for fuel.

Northern Iran relies heavily on gas imports from Turkmenistan, especially for heating in winter.

Rescue teams have been sent to help people trapped in towns in Mazandaran province, the director of power supplies in the region bordering the Caspian Sea told Shana.

It was not clear whether the fall in gas pressure in the region was due to lower supplies or a spike in demand.





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