MAPNA Seeks Drilling Project in SP Phase 11

MAPNA Seeks Drilling Project in SP Phase 11MAPNA Seeks Drilling Project in SP Phase 11

The MAPNA Group has submitted a proposal to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for drilling in South Pars gas field's Phase 11, expressing readiness to commence operation as soon as the proposal is approved, the company's drilling manager said Tuesday.

Two onshore drilling rigs belonging to MAPNA are currently operating in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, and an offshore rig is ready to be dispatched to Phase 11 if an agreement is reached between the NIOC and MAPNA, Mohammad Keshavarz was quoted by Shana news agency as saying.  

As offshore drilling operations are time-consuming, the NIOC decided to develop the offshore section independently, and prior to the onshore part. The gas produced from the onshore section is to be processed in the refineries located in South Pars Energy Economic Zone (SPEEZ).

During the past 15 years, the NIOC has signed three contracts concerning the same project, with all three failing to have a tangible outcome.

In July 2012, China National Petroleum Corporation pulled its staff from the gas field, after the company failed to follow up with repeated ultimatums from the Iranian side to move forward with the $5-billion work. Prior to CNPC the contract had been awarded to French company Total in 2000.

In August 2013, development of South Pars Phase 11 was awarded to the Iranian contractor Petropars in a move that officially annulled NIOC's 2009 deal with state-owned CNPC. However, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh officially dismissed Petropars from the project in April 2014, citing the company’s lack of resources to carry on with the work.

The buyback contract for Phase 11 envisaged 52 months for completion of the project. Development plan involved construction and installation of two wellhead rigs (deck and derrick), drilling of 12 wells and the design, construction and installation of two 32-inch pipelines with each stretching 135 km to convey gas to onshore facilities.

Phase 11 will produce 56 million cubic meters (mcm) of natural gas, 80,000 barrels of gas condensates and 400 million tons of sulfur per day. Approximately 53 mcm of the gas produced at Phase 11 is to be supplied as feedstock for LNG units.

South Pars is the world's largest gas field, shared between Iran and Qatar, covering an area of 3,700 square kilometers of Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. It adjoins Qatar’s North Field, which measures 6,000 square kilometers. The field has a capacity of producing 820 of gas and one mcm of gas condensates per day.

Zanganeh has mobilized resources to speed up operations in underdeveloped phases which are considered as having high priority for Iran owing to the growing domestic consumption, the soaring need for gas to be injected into the country's aging oil wells as well as projected gas exports plans.

Iran is also concerned about depletion of reserves in areas of the field adjacent to Qatar's North Field, a geological extension of South Pars, as the Arab neighbor is far ahead in exploitation of gas from the massive reserve.