Most Iran South Pars field contractors on schedule

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 11/Trend M. Moezzi

Iran continues its race to develop the joint South Pars oil and gas field and as contractors enter the 24th month of a 35-month timeline, their progress is becoming clearer.

Based on the work completed, it's projected that natural gas production will start early in South Pars phases 12 (counts as three phases), 15, 16, 17, and 18, Mehr news agency reports.

Currently, daily gas production has increased to 300 million cubic meters (mcm) at South Pars. When all of the field's phases become operational, Iran will produce more than 700 mcm of gas a day.

A third shift has recently been added to the work schedule at South Pars where nearly 80,000 people are employed.

Iran's Majlis (parliament) recently approved $24 billion (USD) in funding and credit for developing South Pars this year.

Work on phase 12's offshore facilities and onshore refinery has progressed 78 per cent. When complete, South Pars' biggest phase will produce 81 mcm of natural gas, 120,000 barrels of gas condensates and 750,000 tons of sulphur granules a day. Work on phase 12 began in 2007.

It's predicted that phase 12 can start early production in late November and reach full capacity in 2013.

After completion, South Pars' phase 13 will produce 50 mcm of gas and 80,000 barrels of gas condensates a day. Work on South Pars' phase 13, began in 2009 and is 46 per cent complete. The contract to develop this phase is about $5.2 billion.

However not all phases of the giant gas field are moving ahead according to schedule.

The biggest delays have been in phase 20 and 21's development. Work on that offshore part and refinery is 38 per cent done.

The NIOC has said it will fine slow moving companies working on South Pars as much as $50 million a month for every month they're late. Poor performing contractors may also have their workload reduced by the oil ministry.

Iran and Qatar share the South Pars gas field. The Iranian portion which is divided into 29 phases, accounts for about 14 trillion cubic meters of gas, or about eight per cent of the total world reserves and more than 18 billion barrels of liquefied natural gas resources.

Qatar began work on South Pars ten years before Iran and has intensified developing the field while Iran has suffered setbacks from international sanctions and technical and financial obstacles.

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