Is Iran self-sufficient in building drilling rigs?
Dalga Khatinoglu, Trend Agency's Iran Service Department Chief
Nearly two years ago on July 19, 2011, Iran's oil ministry website quoted deputy oil minister Hamdollah Mohammadnejad as saying that the country reached self-sufficiency in building onshore drilling rigs.
At that time, Mohammadnejad said that five domestic companies were manufacturing onshore drilling rigs through reverse engineering and indigenizing the required technology.
He also said that three domestically-made drilling rigs have been tested successfully and have been delivered to the oil ministry. In addition, a contract for building five other drilling rigs has been signed with domestic companies.
Mohammadnejad went on to say that the domestically-made rigs were equal in quality with their European-made rivals, but noted that for the time being 85 percent of compressor parts and 50 percent of turbine parts are made inside the country.
Now, Hedayatollah Khademi, the managing director of the North Drilling Company, which is a contractor for building the rigs, has said that he was completely unaware of the contract between the oil ministry and the Jahad-e Daneshgahi for building 14 drilling rigs. He added that the oil ministry had sent him a letter requesting his company to buy 4 of the rigs and the National Drilling Company to buy 10 of the rigs.
Khademi told Fars News Agency on June 25 that the oil ministry had told him that the Jahad-e Daneshgahi would build the main structure of the rigs (metal body) in Shiraz and would import other parts and equipment, such as generators and pumps. But, no result had been gained and no contract had been signed to date.
Khademi noted that for fist time after 29 years, only this Iranian company owned totally two imported offshore drilling rigs (the Sahar-1 and the Sahar-2 rigs which have been installed at the Farzad-A field, which is associated with Saudi Arabia, and at the phase 19 of the South Pars field) for the first time after 29 years.
"You show us even one company in Iran which builds drilling rigs, and we will immediately ink a contract with the company," Khademi said. "If anyone can build drilling rigs inside the country, please show us. Why are you importing rigs from overseas? Why are you renting rigs from Japan, China, and India? All the rigs which are operating in the Persian Gulf, except for three or four, are foreign-made, Khademi said.
"There is no factory in Iran which can build drilling rigs. We signed deals with some domestic companies to build the rigs. But, they transferred the deal to other companies, and eventually a Chinese company built the rigs and the Iranian company which had signed deal with us imported the rigs from the Chinese company and sold us under the name of domestically-made rigs, he explained.