Iran to use all facilities to complete development of five phases of South Pars gas field
Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug.28/ Trend F.Karimov/
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has issued orders to complete the development of five semi-finished phases of the South Pars gas field, namely phases 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18.
He said that all existing equipment and financial resources should be used to complete the previously mentioned phases of the gas field as soon as possible, the Mehr News Agency reported.
Although the development of the five phases started seven years ago, none have come on stream yet.
In March 2009, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated the incomplete phases 9 and 10. So far, $46 billion has been invested in phase 11-24 of the gas field, but no single phase has come on stream yet. This is while the total investment in the South Pars which holds around half of Iran's total gas reserves had been estimated to be less than $40 billion.
The five phases which have been prioritised by the Iranian oil minister have been developed more than the other ones. The development plan of phase 12 started 61 months ago and has progressed 92 per cent. Phases 15 and 16 started 73 months ago and progressed by 92 per cent. The development plan of phases 17 and 18 started 73 months ago and progressed 82 per cent. Plans of other phases started 38 months ago and have progressed by 50-64 per cent.
Former Iranian oil minister Rostam Qasemi said in late June that some $30 billion more is needed to complete the development of other phases of the gas field.
The U.S. and the EU sanctions have faced Iran with problems of exporting oil and receive petrodollars. Each country is currently allowed to deposit the money for importing Iranian crude oil using its national currency to a bank account in the same country. Iran is allowed to use the money for importing certain goods from that country.
Meanwhile, Iran's crude oil exports have fallen sharply in the past two years.
In 2011, Iran exported some 2.2 million barrels of oil per day. In 2012, exports fell to 1.2 mbpd. On August 22, Reuters reported that Iran's crude oil exports fell in the first half of 2013 by 20 per cent and reached 960,000 bpd.
Iran holds around 33 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves, but not the capacity to produce natural gas in excess of the domestic need in order to be exported.