Photo: National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)

Iran to boost production by drilling 35 new wells on ‘world’s largest offshore gas field’

With the aim of ramping up and maintaining gas production from a giant field offshore Iran, Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC), a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), unveiled plans to drill 35 new wells at this field.

This comes three months after Rystad Energy forecasted that sweeping sanctions imposed on Iran and Russia would hamper the countries’ abilities to source goods for the development of Iranian offshore gas fields, for which the two inked a $40 billion deal earlier this year.

Under the terms of this deal, Gazprom agreed to help the National Iranian Oil Company in the development of the Kish and North Pars gas fields, provide pressure enhancements to the giant South Pars gas field and help develop six oilfields.

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During an event, which was held last week at NIOC’s conference centre, the deputy head of POGC’s Reservoir Operations Engineering Unit, revealed that permits were obtained for the drilling of 35 new wells in the South Pars field over the next two to three years.

Shobeir Nabavi, the deputy head of POGC’s Reservoir Operations Engineering Unit, remarked: “Pars Oil and Gas Company focuses on maintaining production in the South Pars gas field while developing other gas fields such as Kish, North Pars, Bilal, Golshan and Ferdowsi, Farzad A and B and also the oil layers of South Pars.”

The South Pars field – shared with Qatar, where it is known as the North field – is considered to be “the world’s largest offshore gas field” and contains highly sour gas that, as a result, is corrosive in nature and all wells being drilled on the field require very high grades of nickel alloy OCTG tubing – for instance, Alloy 28 grade.

Nabavi highlighted that the development of this field is one of NIOC’s main priorities and explained that the field’s oil reservoir is “far more extensive on the Qatari side, however, in the Iranian part, the contract for the development of oil fields has been signed under IPC terms and is being followed up.”

The field is estimated to contain 410 trillion cubic feet of gas on the Iranian side and 75.5 trillion cubic feet of gas have been produced so far. The POGC official further elaborated that the initial pressure of the South Pars gas reservoir in the Kangan and Dalan layers – located at a depth of 3,000 meters underground in the Persian Gulf – has decreased from about 5,200 PSI to 3,500 PSI during the past 20 years of exploitation activities.

According to Nabavi, out of 341 wells, which have been drilled and completed at the South Pars field by 38 platforms, 308 wells are currently active. The daily gas production capacity at this field is about 700 million cubic meters per day, and this production is expected to increase to 730 million cubic meters per day with the commissioning of South Pars Phase 11.

Furthermore, the POGC official sees the installation of pressure-boosting compressors as the most important method of maintaining gas production at the field. In line with this, Nabavi outlined that “NIOC plans to prioritize this issue in the coming years by installing pressure-boosting compressors and exploiting other gas sources to prevent production drop in the country.”

Kish slated to come online next year

Moreover, Nabavi disclosed that wheels were set in motion in 2018 to develop the Kish gas field in three phases. The first phase, anticipated to come on stream next year, will have 14 wells with a daily gas production capacity of 28.3 million cubic meters.

“This field is located in the underground part of Kish Island and in the waters of the Persian Gulf, with a minimum in place storage of 56 trillion cubic feet of gas, which is considered one of the large gas fields,” added Nabavi.

Meanwhile, engineering studies were carried out in the North Pars gas field, which is located in the Persian Gulf in the south of Bushehr province. According to the POGC official, this field has gas reserves of 55 trillion cubic feet.

In addition, Nabavi confirmed that the development of the Bilal gas field is also ongoing with one appraisal well being drilled in the offshore part of this field. Eight more wells – including the well currently being drilled – are also planned in the future to bring gas production to 14.1 million cubic meters per day.