South Pars, Iran

The Iranian South Pars field is the northern extension of Qatar's giant North Field. It covers an area of 500 square miles and is located 3,000m below the seabed at a water depth of 65m. The Iranian side accounts for 10% of the world's total gas reserves and 60% of those belonging to the country. Iran's portion of the field contains an estimated 436 trillion cubic feet.

The field is planned to be developed in around 30 phases, each of which requiring an initial investment of around $1bn. The first 26 phases of the development are underway.

Details of Phase I of the South Pars field

The $770m development is operated by Petropars (NIOC Pension Fund 60%, Industrial Development and Renovation Organisation 40%). Around $300m worth of contracts were signed with Samsung and Sadra.

The utility facilities started operating in 2002 and the process facilities were operating by July 2003, giving a total output of one billion cubic feet of gas a day, along with 40,000bpd of gas condensates.

Phases II and III of the Iranian gas field

This $2bn development came on stream in 2002. Two identical unmanned platforms, SPD 3 and SPD 4, were placed in 65m of water. Each platform receives gas from ten deviated wells, all within a radius of 3,000m. The platforms are linked to the onshore treatment system by two, 32in-diameter, 105km-long multiphase lines. It initially produced 13.5 million cubic feet of gas a day, increasing to 60 million cubic feet a day.

It will eventually be enhanced by the second and third phases of the project to an output of two billion cubic feet of natural gas a day and 80,000bpd of condensates. The field is operated by TotalFinaElf (40%) on behalf of Petronas (30%) and Gazprom (30%). The project was officially inaugurated in February 2003.

Phases IV and V of South Pars field

The development of phases IV and V was awarded in 2000 to a consortium formed by Agip (60%) and Petropars (40%, on a buy-back basis). The project was officially inaugurated in April 2005 and is producing more than one billion cubic feet of sour gas a day. Iran's construction share of the project was more than 44%, which is the equivalent of $850m.

Phases VI to VIII of the Iranian gas field

Phases VI to VIII constitute a single project and are divided into onshore and offshore sections. The contract for this $2.65bn scheme was awarded to Petropars as the general contractor and the Pars Oil and Gas Company as the client in July 2000. The field was appraised by a three-well programme in 2001, estimating the field to contain three billion cubic feet of gas, 120,000 barrels of condensate and 3,300t of LPG a day.

"The South Pars field is planned to be developed in around 30 phases."

In December 2002, Norway's Statoil was named the operator of the offshore section on behalf of its Iranian partner Petropars, the operator for the land side of the development. Statoil has been responsible for building three production platforms for installation 100km from land and has also laid a 31in pipeline from each platform to a gas treatment plant on the Iranian coast.

Condensate and LPG are separated from the gas stream at the treatment plant and exported via a terminal nearby. The lean gas is then transported through a 500km pipeline to the Agha Jari field for injection as pressure support to help maintain oil production.

The contract for fabrication and installation of jackets was awarded through an EPC contract to Iranian company ISOICO; the work was completed in January 2004. The refinery project was awarded through an EPC contract in May 2002 to the TIJD consortium of Toyo of Japan, IDRO of Iran, JGC of Japan and Daelim of Korea.

In March 2008, the Iranian Oil Ministry said phases VI to VIII would come online during the next Iranian Year, which started on 20 March.

Phases IX and X

The contracts for these phases were signed in September 2002 with a consortium of LG Korea, OIEC (Oil Industries Engineering and Construction) company of Iran and IOEC (Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company) and represent and investment value of more than $2bn.

As with phases VI to VIII, phases IX and X came on stream in March 2009, and produce 25 million cubic metres of gas a day, 1,500t of butane and propane (LPG 40), 1,000 barrels of gas condensate and 1,350t of ethane a day.

Phases XI and XII

Phase XI will produce sour gas for the Pars LNG plant. The contract for this phase has gone to Total and Petronas, although delays forced the Iranian Oil Ministry to issue an ultimatum to Total in April 2008 to commit to the deal by the June or the contract would go to a rival.

The contract for Phase XI of South Pars was signed between the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and a consortium comprising TOTAL, Chinese National Company for Petroleum (CNCP) and Petropars Limited (PPL).

The field will be operated by TOTAL which owns a 50.1% stake while CNCP of China and Petropars respectively own 30% and 19.9%. The field will have a production capacity of two billion cubic feet a day or 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Phase XII is designed to yield a daily production of 84 million cubic metres of gas. The first of three jackets for the wellhead platforms will be ready to be rolled up by mid-May 2008. The contract for developing this phase was given to Petropars in mid-2005, and the IOEC has also concluded a $745m contract with the POGC for laying the offshore pipelines. Another contract worth $386m has been signed with the IOEC for the construction of the marine platforms for this phase.

"The South Pars oil and gas field covers an area of 500 square miles and is located 3,000m below the seabed."

Phases XIII to XVIII

Phases XIII and XIV are dedicated to the Persian LNG project, and are a joint development between the NIOC, Shell and Repsol. They are scheduled to come on stream in 2012, each producing 8Mt of LNG a year.

April 2008, delays in proceeding with development of these phases again forced the Iranian Oil Ministry to issue an ultimatum to Shell to commit to the deal by the June or risk losing the contract.

Development for phases XV and XVI has been awarded to a consortium of Aker Kvaerner, of Norway, and Iranian companies Ghorb and Sadra. These phases are designed to produce about 50 million cubic metres of natural gas a day for domestic consumption, in addition to one million tons of LPG a year for export. The cost of these two phases will be $2bn and they are expected to come on stream in November 2017.

Development for phases XVII and XVIII has been assigned to a consortium consisting of OIEC, IOEC and Petropars. These phases were commissioned in April 2017 and produce approximately 50 million cubic metres of gas and 80,000 barrels of condensates a day.

Phases 19, 20 and 21 of the South Pars project were officially commissioned in April 2017.