• Iran could add 600,000 b/d by end of 2017
  • Longer-term increases will require overseas investment
  • Gas assets also have major potential

Iran is estimated to be able to add 600,000 barrels a day (b/d) of additional crude production capacity by the end of 2017 without sanctions, according to UK-based energy consultancy Wood MacKenzie, in a forecast much lower than that of the Iranian Petroleum Industry.

Iran is planning to significantly increase production and exports if Tehran and world powers reach a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme on the 30 June deadline.

Wood MacKenzie forecasts that Iran could add:

  • 120,000 b/d by the end of 2015
  • Another 260,000 b/d by the end of 2016
  • Another 220,000 b/d by the end of 2017

“This gradual rate of growth is not expected to have a significant downward effect on oil prices,” the consultancy said in its note on Iranian oil.

Woold MacKenzie forecasts that total crude production would rise from 2.7 million b/d in 2015 to 3.4 million b/d in 2020 and could reach as much as 4.4 million b/d by 2025 with foreign direct investment in the upstream sector.

The predictions were less optimistic than forecasts by the country’s government.

Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh forecast that Iran would be able to boost production by an additional 500,000 b/d within a month of sanctions being lifted, and 1 million b/d within six months.

The minister expects Opec to adjust the group’s production to allow for the return of Iran, which was the 12-member oil producers’ group’s second-largest exporter before new sanctions were introduced in 2012.

As well has holding the third-largest oil reserves in the world, Iran also has the second-largest gas reserves, but its market share of global gas trade is less than 1 per cent.

According to Wood MacKenzie, Iran has enormous potential for gas exports but more in the longer term than increases in oil exports.

Gas production is expected to increase sharply if sanctions are removed, with sales gas plus re-injection forecast to rise from 19.3 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) in 2014 to 24 billion cf/d in 2017.

Much of this is expected to come from new phases of the South Pars offshore gas development coming onstream, but gas reinjection to boost oil production will be prioritised over exports, Wood MacKenzie predicted.

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