The South Pars field in the Persian Gulf will begin production by the end of the fiscal year, according to Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who made the confirmatory statement during an interview with IRIB TV this week.
The first stage of production will see output of 35,000 barrels per day, while the second stage will increase to 100,000 bpd.
Iran shares ownership of the gas reserves in the largest field of its kind with Qatar. The 14-trillion-cubic-feet find represents eight percent of the world’s known reserves. Both countries are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
In November, Total confirmed a $4.8 billion deal to develop Phase 11 of the giant field. Deputy Oil Minister Ali Kardor quashed rumors that the French company had pulled out of said deal on Monday, insisting that there were no indications of a “retreat or withdrawal” from the contract.
“Total has already started planning to build the first leg of the platform for Phase 11 of South Pars,” he said, according to Mehr news agency.
Executives from Total had recently visited Tehran to follow up on technical aspects of the agreement in recent weeks, Kardor added.
The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the Iranian firm Petropars own 49.9 percent of the South Pars venture while Total controls 50.1 percent.
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Competition between Qatar and Iran on the speed and efficiency of the extraction of fossil fuels in the field runs strong.
“If they (Total) give our information to the Qataris, they will have to pay heavy damages,” Zanganeh told Fars news agency on Monday, adding in jest that “such a thing is very unlikely to happen.”
Six years of international sanctions against the Iranian oil sector have delayed Tehran’s development of its share of the South Pars field. Since the measures were lifted in January 2016, Iran has made commercializing the field a priority.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…