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Iran to launch new South Pars phases ahead of schedule

27 April 2015 7:06


New development phases of the giant offshore South Pars gas field in southern Iran are to come on-stream in the coming months as the county prepares to win toehold in global energy market.

Phases 15&16 of South Pars, which is jointly operated by Iran and Qatar, are becoming operational despite tough sanctions imposed on Iran’s energy sector in recent years.

Reza Forouzesh, manager of Phases 15&16, said the project is coming online in June, two months ahead of schedule.

Phases 15&16 of South Pars are aimed at producing 50 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) of natural gas, 80,000 barrels per day (b/d) of gas condensate, 400 tons a day of sulfur as well as 1 million tons a year of liquefied natural gas (LPG) and 1 million tons of ethane.

The contract for the development of Phases 15&16 was initially signed in 2006 between National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and the Khatam al-Anbia Headquarters (the engineering arm of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps) for the onshore sector and Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC) for the offshore sector, according to a report on Tasnim news website.

The agency said that Arya Naft Shahab replaced Khatam al-Anbia in 2010 due to international sanctions against Iran’s petroleum industry.

Platforms and other structures in these two phases have been built by Iran Shipbuilding & Offshore Industries Complex Co (ISOICO) and Iranian Offshore Industries Company while offshore pipelines have been manufactured by IOEC.

South Pars, divided into 29 development phases, contains 40 trillion cubic meters (tcm) of natural gas. It covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which are in Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The remaining 6,000 square kilometers are situated in Qatar’s territorial waters.

The gas field is estimated to contain about eight percent of the world’s reserves, and approximately 18 billion barrels of condensate.

The main phase of South Pars gas field came on-stream in March, increasing Iran’s gas production by 100 mcm/d.

Iran’s gas exports have increased by more than 1 mcm/d during the first 11 months of the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 20, 2015) compared to the corresponding period a year before.

According to Ministry of Petroleum’s SHANA news agency, the country exported 26.8 mcm/d natural gas during the aforesaid period. The figure showed a year-on-year increase of 1.4 mcm/d.

During past years Iran, which sits on the world’s second largest gas reserves, has implemented plans to enhance production and export of natural gas by increasing foreign and domestic investment, especially in its South Pars gas field.

The country is currently exporting gas to Turkey and is set to start gas exports to its western neighbor, Iraq, by May.

On April 16, European Union’s Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said Europe keeps the possibility of importing gas from Iran open as it seeks to diversify sources of energy

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of EU energy ministers in the Latvian capital city of Riga, Canete said Iran was a new possibility for imports of gas by Europe if Tehran’s nuclear negotiations led to a final agreement.

The sanctions were imposed on Iran at the beginning of 2012 by the US and EU claiming that there is a military aspect to Iran’s peaceful nuclear program; an allegation Iran categorically rejected.

The Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – reached an interim agreement on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva last November, which led to relative loosening of sanctions against Iran, paving the way for further cooperation in various economic fields, especially in energy sector, between Iran and other countries.

Following the Lausanne understanding Iran’s oil industry officials said international companies have voiced interest in taking up projects in the country’s oil industry.

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