• Development now has almost 14 billion cf/d capacity on stream
  • Phase 12 will start up without planned liquefied natural gas export facilities
  • Phases 15 and 16 on track for later in 2015

Iran has fully commissioned phase 12 of the South Pars gas development after 10 years of work on the project, according to Ali Akbar Shaban Por, the managing director of Pars Oil & Gas Company (POGC).

The main contract for phase 12, the second-largest segment of the 24-phase offshore gas megaproject, was awarded to the local PetroPars in July 2005 under a buyback agreement.

Phase 12 has the capacity to produce 3 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas, 110,000 barrels a day (b/d) of condensates and 750 tonnes a day (t/d) of sulphur.

Por said the project was handed over to National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) on 23 August, according to a report by the Iranian oil ministry’s news agency Shana.

The South Pars offshore field accounts for 40 per cent of Iran’s gas reserves, which are in turn the second-largest gas reserves in the world.

POGC completed the first project on the $100bn-plus development in 2002, and subsequently brought on stream phases 1-10, but phase 11 is facing significant delays.

Phases 11-24 were designed to be linked to onshore liquefaction facilities in Assaluyeh to allow Iran to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, no LNG facilities have been completed in the country due to restrictions on technology caused by international sanctions.

The operational phases have a total nameplate gas capacity of 13.7 billion cf/d – larger than the total gas production of Saudi Arabia – although it is not thought to be operating at full capacity.

With at least nine phases facing significant delays, POGC could look to bring in international oil companies (IOCs) to speed up the completion of the development and build the LNG facilities planned in the original scope.

Iran’s Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on 25 August that phases 15 and 16 are close to starting production, and would be inaugurated by President Hassan Rouhani by October.

Phases 15 and 16 will have the capacity to produce 2 billion cf/d of gas, 80,000 b/d of condensate, 1.05 million tonnes a year (t/y) of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), 1 million t/y of ethane for petrochemicals feedstock and 400 t/d of sulphur.

The main contract was awarded to a consortium of local groups National Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction Company, Iran Shipbuilding & Offshore Industries Complex Company and Saff Offshore Industries Company.

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