Iran aims to gain a stronger foothold in the Asian energy market by exploring options for liquefied natural gas, an energy official said.
Mohsen Qamsari, director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Co., said the international markets are dominated by LNG.
"We must try to gain control of Indian and Chinese LNG markets, which are close to our country and account for 45 percent of LNG consumption in the world," he was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying.
Iran in August began negotiations to export as much as 1.5 million tons of LNG to Indonesia. NIOC officials said Iran aims to take a 10 percent stake on the global LNG market by 2015.
Iran sits on some of the largest natural gas deposits in the world. It's lobbied for a role in Europe's planned Nabucco pipeline but Western backers shunned the idea. A pipeline planned for Pakistan has lingered in various stages of negotiation since it was conceived in the 1990s.
LNG shipments don't rely on pipelines, which can carry significant geopolitical risk. Analysts expect LNG imports to rise. Japan started taking on more LNG to offset the energy imbalance brought on by a magnitude-9 quake and tsunami that crippled parts of the nuclear power sector in March.