105 years ago (in 1911), the first pipeline in Middle East was completed in Iran by Charlie Richi to move crude oil from Masjed Soleiman to Abadan. From 1911 to the present, the Iranian pipeline industry has expanded its huge network and also improved in the technical and engineering aspects of pipeline operations.
However, the impressive size and further potential growth of the Iranian pipeline industry is not well known in the international market. This is due to antiquated information and data from within the industry. For example, in the OPEC annual report at end of 2014, it is mentioned that Iran has 12,000 km pipelines (8,000 km gas pipeline and 4,000 km oil pipelines). This statistic reflects the situation in Iran some 40 years ago. Today Iran has more than 69,000 km of main pipelines (without branches) and plans to increase the number to more than 110,000 km in 2025. In the water and sewer industry, there are more than 53,000 km metallic and non-metallic main pipelines.
This paper highlights the accomplishments of the Iranian pipeline industry and describes our capabilities in design, manufacturing (factories), construction, contracting and operation. It will also explain technical challenges, economic problems in new pipeline projects, development plans as well as Iran's policy to swap and export oil and gas through pipelines.