State-owned National Iranian Drilling Company (NIDC) will begin the first stage of drilling operations at phase-14 of the giant offshore South Pars gas field in the Gulf before the beginning of August.

The company had planned to drill the first of 44 appraisal wells in May.

“So far, more than 40 per cent of the goods and equipment needed for drilling 44 wells of SP phase-14 have been provided,” says Saeed Sattari, project manager at state-owned Pars Oil & Gas Company (POGC), which oversees the development of the field.

Phase-14 is being developed by a consortium of local firms, Industrial Development and Renovation Organization, NIDC and Iran Offshore Engineering Construction Company .

Iran plans to produce 2 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) from the phase using four offshore platforms, with a capacity of 500 million cf/d each. These will be connected with two 32-inch pipelines transferring gas from the main platforms to onshore processing units.

In June, NIDC launched a tender for the provision of horizontal and direction drilling services for 20 wells at phase-14 over two years (MEED 8:6:11).

The South Pars field contains about 500 trillion cubic feet of gas, along with 3 billion barrels of condensates. The development of the project is at the centre of Iran’s strategy to meet growing domestic gas demands.