Completion of Phase 11 of South Pars is Iran's priority for 2022

24 Dec 2021

Iran has set the Phase 11 of South Pars (SP11) as its main priority to help increase the country's gas production capacity in 2022. In 2017, Total signed an agreement with NIOC to develop Phase 11 with a 50.1% interest in cooperation with Petropars (19.9%) and CNPC (30%). Following American sanctions, however, Total transferred its 50% share to CNPC, which subsequently abandoned the project due to international pressure. In 2020, Petropars started drilling operations on its own for Phase 11. The exit of Total caused major delays in the overall development but the offshore part was inaugurated in 2021. The whole phase 11 will cost US$5bn and will add 56 mcm/d once commissioned.

Multiple foreign companies are active in projects located in the South Pars field. Phase 1 was developed by Petropars (NIOC 60%) in 1998 for US$770m and produces 10 bcm/year. Total (with 40%), in partnership with Gazprom and Petronas (30% each), started developing phases 2 and 3 in 2007. Eni and Petropars developed phases 4 and 5, Petropars and Statoil phases 6 to 8, and LG Engineering (South Korea) phases 9 and 10. In August 2021, the offshore portion of phase 27 and two offshore portions of phase 14 were inaugurated. In 2020, SP's production surpassed 700 mcm/d (255 bcm/year; from 610 mcm/d in 2019) with the inauguration of phases 13, 22, 23, and 24, art of 11. Phases 1-10 (SP1-SP10) are intended for domestic consumption and injection into Iranian oil fields, while gas from the other phases is exported to neighbouring countries. As of today, 22 phases are in operation.

Iran has the world's second largest gas reserves (behind Russia), amounting to about 34 000 bcm, i.e. 17% of the world's total conventional gas reserves (end of 2020). Most of those reserves have not yet been exploited because they are not linked to oil fields ("non-associated gas"), and because two thirds are located in offshore fields. The largest field is South Pars (12 500 bcm to 14 000 bcm), an extension of the North Fields in Qatar. It is the largest gas field in the world.

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