Former official: Phases of Iran’s South Pars gas field not to come on stream unless sanctions lifted

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 2 / Trend R.Zamanov /

Former managing director of South Pars gas field's main contractor said that the sanctions should be lifted from Iran's oil and gas sector otherwise no phase of the giant gas field could come on stream.

Gholam-Hossein Khaje-Ali, the former managing director of Sepanir Oil & Gas Energy Company, also criticized the oil ministry officials' decisions, the Mehr News Agency reported.

Sepanir Company is an affiliate of Khatam al-Anbia Construction Headquarters. The company is in charge of developing the phases 15 and 16 of South Pars gas field.

Khaje-Ali rejected the oil minister's claim and said that the South Pars gas field's development projects are facing severe financial problems.

"The oil ministry pays the contractors in Chinese yuan and Indian rupee, but they are not good for buying the needed equipment," he explained.

"The officials all are aware of the problems but they prefer to hide them," he added.

Answering to a question about the oil minister's dissatisfaction regarding the progress of the phases 15 and 16, Khaje-Ali said that the oil minister himself could be held responsible for the delay in development projects of the gas field.

"Phases 15 and 16 are now 94 per cent complete, but we lack proper equipment to complete the projects. Unless the equipment is provided, nothing can be done to complete the projects," he said.

Khaje-Ali further said that he never resigned, but he is no longer the managing director of Sepanir.

Some of the phases of the South Pars gas field are way behind the schedule. For example, the development plan of phases 15 and 16 has entered its 7th year. The mentioned phases were supposed to come on stream by the end of the previous current Iranian year (March 20, 2014) but none of them is complete yet.

South Pars is a part of a wider gas field that is shared with Qatar. The larger field covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which are in Iran's territorial waters (South Pars) in the Persian Gulf. The remaining 6,000 square kilometers, referred to as the North Dome, are in Qatar's territorial waters.

The Iranian gas field contains 14 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, about eight percent of the world's reserves, and more than 18 billion barrels of LNG resources.

Doha's gas pump currently is two times more than Iran, while its extraction share from the field's oil layer is 13 times more than Tehran.

Iran is currently producing around 285 million cubic meters of gas per day, and 35,000 barrels of oil from South Pars. It is while Qatar extracts some 450,000 barrels of oil from the gas field's oil layer.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said that the gas field's production capacity would reach 480 million cubic meters by September, equaling Iran and Qatar's pace of tapping the joint gas field.

Iran has extracted 500 billion cubic meters of gas from South Pars over the course of 15 years.

It is while Qatar announced last year that its total gas extraction from the field has reached one trillion cubic meters.

Thanks to extracting gas from the joint field, Qatar is currently world's largest LNG exporter. Its annual LNG exports stands at 77 million tons.

Due to the US-generated sanctions against Iran's oil and gas sector, giant foreign companies have left the country's energy projects. This has caused severe problems for Iran in regards to developing joint oil and gas fields.

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