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Russian Firm Seals $1 Billion Oil Rig-Building Deal With Iran

Russian shipyard Krasnye Barrikady will build five offshore drilling rigs for Iran in a US$1-billion deal signed by the firm’s CEO, Aleksandr Ilichev, and the head of Iran’s Tasdid Offshore Development Company, Ehsan Mousavi.

The deal also envisages the transfer of Russian rig-building know-how to the National Iranian Oil Company and the setting up of an offshore and onshore rig overhaul hub in southern Iran. Chinese companies will also be involved in this part of the deal, Mousavi told local media.

The first rig that Krasnye Barrikady will construct for the Iranian side should be ready in two years. It will be built in Khorramshahr, in the southern oil-rich province of Khuzestan. The Russian side will take up 85 percent of the investment needed for the project. The rig will be designed specifically to match the geological features of the South Pars oil and natural gas field in the Persian Gulf.

South Pars is one of the largest – some sources consider it the largest – natural gas fields in the world. It is shared by Iran and Qatar, and is a major source of gas for Iran, whose portion of the field (less than half) is estimated to contain 14 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 18 billion barrels of gas condensate. Right now, Iran pumps 450 million cubic meters of natural gas from the field.

This deal with Krasnye Barrikady, however, is part of Iran’s plans to develop the crude oil reserves at South Pars. On Saturday, Iran Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said the country plans to start pumping oil at South Pars by March next year. Gas production, on the other hand, should reach 800 million cubic meters daily by 2021.

So far, Iran has invested US$55 billion in the development of the South Pars field. Another US$11 billion is still necessary, according to Pars Oil and Gas Company managing director Ali Akbar Shabanpour.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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