Inadequate investment slowing progress on Iran joint oil fields

16 May 2010

Oil minister to face questions from state energy committee

Inadequate investment and poor decisions are slowing the development of Iran’s joint oil fields, according to the Iranian parliament’s energy committee chairman, Hamid-Reza Katouzian.

Oil Minister, Masoud Mirkazemi is expected to appear before the committee on 18 May to field questions on the development of joint fields.

Comparing the development of Iran’s joint fields with its Gulf neighbours, Katouzian told Iranian state media: “From 1977 onwards, little progress has been made in Iran’s part of the joint oil fields.”

Katouzian warns that the continued sluggish pace will cause the country serious problems in the area of exploitation and development of oil fields.

“Now that Iraq is pressing ahead rapidly to develop its own geographical scope of the joint oil fields, not only will it have a negative impact on Iran’s energy market in the future, undermining the position of the country in the world energy market, but it will also reduce Tehran’s influence in international diplomacy,” says Katouzian.

One of the clearest examples of Iran lagging behind its neighbours is the South Pars field. Part of the largest natural gas deposit in the world, the 9,700 square kilometre field is shared by Iran and Qatar, whose portion is called the North field.

In February, Mirkazemi met with a Qatari energy delegation to establish a technical group to supervise the development of the field, which holds an estimated 1,800 trillion cubic feet of reserves.

According to Singapore-based consultants, Facts Global Energy, Qatar’s production is expected to reach 20 billion feet a day by 2012. Iran may only hit this level by 2015 at the earliest.

On 5 May, the Islamic Republic signed an agreement with Iraq to provide a comprehensive plan for the development of five fields in the Missan province, which straddles the Iran-Iraq border (MEED 9:3:10).

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