Iran gas export curb wouldn’t have major impact, U.S. says

Limiting Iran’s natural gas exports wouldn’t have a significant effect on global markets, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a report to Congress and the Obama administration.

“Iran imports more natural gas than it exports,” the Washington-based agency said Tuesday in the report, which may used to justify economic sanctions to curb the nation’s nuclear program. “Iran’s imports from Turkmenistan alone exceeded its exports during the July 2011-June 2012 period.”

The U.K., France and Germany are pressing to impose additional sanctions to further weaken Iran’s economy as the nation refuses to end what the U.S., Europe and Israel say is a covert nuclear-weapons program. Iran says its program is solely for civilian energy and medical research.

Iran’s currency, the rial, fell 18 percent on Oct. 1 to a record low after the U.S. and the EU limited Iran’s ability to sell oil and other goods for dollars and euros.

Iran, once the second-biggest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Nations, is exporting about 50 percent less oil than last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Turkey, which buys more than 90 percent of Iran’s gas exports, wouldn’t be able to replace the loss of all Iranian supplies, according to the report.

The EU embargoed Iranian oil and banned EU companies from insuring Iranian crude shipments after July 1.

The U.S. passed a law in December forcing buyers of Iranian oil to reduce their purchases — or the banks that settle oil trades with Iran may be cut off by the Treasury Department from the U.S. financial system. U.S. citizens are barred from trading in Iran’s oil or oil-related products.

Iran’s natural gas exports from July 2011 to June 2012 were valued at about $10.5 million a day, or 5 percent of the estimated $231 million a day in revenues from crude oil and condensates exports over the same period, the Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.