Iran is targeting liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports after signing a contract with a Norwegian-Iranian floating LNG consortium. This deal will mark the first time Iranian LNG will flow into international markets.

The National Iranian Oil Company signed the agreement with IFLNG – a firm jointly owned by Kharg Gas Refining Company and Norway’s Hemla Vantage, according to Shana, the news agency associated with Iran’s petroleum ministry. The consortium will sell Iran to international markets.

The shipment will be delivered by the 500,000-tonne Caribbean FLNG, which is owed by Belgian shipping firm Exmar. The contract is valid for a 20-year period and the document will be enforced by NIOC in three months.

Caribbean FLNG will dock at Pars Service Port at Asalouyeh on the southern Gulf coast and will receive 2.3 million cubic metres of gas daily from the South Pars Gas Refinery Phase 7.

Sources tell MEED that Iran would be targetting the spot market as the size of production is fairly small. NIOC has yet to line up an off-taker for this project.

Iran is the world’s second-largest producer of gas, however, its exports are limited to pipeline supply to Turkey. Nearly all of the 202 billion cubic metres of gas produced is absorbed by the domestic market. Following the nuclear deal signed by Tehran with the P5+1 countries in 2016, Iran has prioritised natural gas production, signing a $4.8bn deal to develop phase 11 of the South Pars gas field. While much of this gas is intended for Iran’s domestic consumption, the NIOC has been targeting a return to the natural gas market and hopes to attract foreign expertise and investment in building LNG facilities. Iran currently has no built LNG production facility.