Early production levels stand at 20,000 barrels a day (b/d) at Balal, with full production set to reach 40,000 b/d following the completion of drilling by mid-2003, says TotalFinaElf. Two wells have been drilled so far, with drilling of another three under way. The project also involves the drilling of five water injection wells.

The oil from Balal, which has estimated reserves of 100 million barrels, will be transported via an existing National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)pipeline to the nearby Lavan island. The estimated $300 million buy-back project is being carried out by TotalFinaElf, which holds a 47 per cent stake in the project. Its partners are Italy’s Eni, which has a 38 per cent share, and Bow Valley Energyof Canada with the remaining 15 per cent. The client is NIOC.

The first onshore well at Doroud was drilled by TotalFinaElf in mid-February. Twenty-four onshore wells are set to be spudded as part of the Doroud field development, including 12 production wells, eight water injection wells and four gas injection wells. The first two offshore wells came on stream in May 2002, with another three to be drilled before scheduled completion of the project in the first half of 2004.

The drilling programme is part of the estimated $1,000 million buy-back contract signed by TotalFinaElf in 1999, to increase oil production at the field by 85,000 b/d to about 205,000 b/d. Sharjah-based Petrofac International, with its local partner Jahanpars, has the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build the onshore surface facilities.

TotalFinaElf is the operator on the Doroud development and has a 55 per cent stake in the project, with Eni holding the remainder.