Iran plans to bring on line the last remaining phase of the giant South Pars gas field next year some five years after foreign contractors pulled out of the project under American pressure.
CEO of the state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Mohsen Khojastehmehr said on Monday that production of gas from South Pars phase 11 is planned to start next October.
Khojastehmehr told the official IRNA news agency that the NIOC had decided to move a drilling platform from phase 12 to phase 11 to expedite the launching process.
“Phase 11 is the top priority in NIOC’s development projects and it is going ahead with a good pace,” said the deputy oil minister.
He also said that gas sweetening facilities with idle capacities in other phases will be mobilized to help process gas produced in phase 11.
Iran’s development plans at South Pars 11 hit a snag in 2018 when French and Chinese contractors decided to abandon the project after the United States imposed sanctions on Tehran.
Iran then decided to award the $5 billion project to Petropars despite objections raised by some experts who believed the local companies lacked the technology needed to develop the phase which is located in shallow water.
Iran has relied on domestic expertise and technology to develop all other 27 phases of South Pars, the world’s largest gas field which is shared between Iran and Qatar in the Persian Gulf.
South Pars is currently responsible for more than 80% of Iran’s gas production capacity of nearly 1 billion cubic meters per day.