Iran has recovered nearly 13% of the total gas reserves in its side of the world’s largest gas field in the Persian Gulf, says its top oil and gas development company, as the country boasts of a major success at a time of brutal US sanctions on its oil and gas industry.
A Sunday statement by Petropars said natural gas recovery from the South Pars gas filed had reached a total of 1.8 trillion cubic meters since production started in the field in 2002.
The company said the field had also been responsible for 2.2 billion barrels of Iran's output of condensates, a light form of crude, over the past 19 years.
It said the value of the natural gas and condensates produced in South Pars would equal to $335 billion based on gas prices in 2017 (1 cm=$0.18). That comes against an investment of around $80 billion Iran has carried out over the years to develop all but one of the 28 phases of the South Pars.
Shared between Iran and Qatar, the South Pars-North Dome Gas-Condensate field is by the far the largest natural gas filed in the world.
The Iranian side of the reserve contains an estimated 14 tcm of gas and 18 billion barrels of condensates. It spreads across an area of 3,700 square kilometers in the Persian Gulf which accounts for nearly a third of the entire structure both in terms of size and the recoverable content.
Iran accelerated development works in South Pars in 2013, hoping that it could tap foreign expertise and investment in anticipation of a major international deal on its nuclear program that could lead to the lifting of international sanctions on the country.
However, the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015 crumbled in 2018 after the United States pulled out of the agreement and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran.
Major oil and gas companies like France’s Total and China’s CNPC left South Pars under pressure from the US, leaving Iran on its own to develop major phases of the field.
Petropars, which has been assigned to finish much of the works left behind by foreigners in South Pars, said in its Sunday statement that gas recovery from the field increased significantly between 2013 and 2019 to reach over 700 million cubic meters per day to put Iran ahead of Qatar in the race to recover gas from the field.
Facing growing demand for natural gas, Iran is currently pumping over 1 billion cubic meters per day of natural gas from South Pars.
Increased gas recovery from the field has enabled Iran to supply gas to industries and power plants that used to run on harmful fossil fuels.
Better supplies have also led to a massive expansion of the Iranian natural gas pipeline network to cover areas in the countryside and in its underprivileged far east.