More Drilling Rigs for Joint Fields

More Drilling Rigs for  Joint FieldsMore Drilling Rigs for  Joint Fields

Iran plans to deploy more drilling rigs in its joint oil and gas fields in the Persian Gulf, the Iranian Offshore Oil Company's managing director said.

"Three Iranian offshore drilling rigs are operating simultaneously in Salman Oilfield, Iran's joint oilfield with the United Arab Emirates," Saeed Hafezi was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

Developing the joint oil and gas fields in the Persian Gulf tops the National Iranian Oil Company's priority list, which explains why the largest numbers of offshore drilling rigs are operating at Salman and Forouzan joint fields.

"There is an annual production decline, averaging 13% in offshore fields. Nonetheless, IOOC has managed to minimize the reduction rate successfully," he said.

"Given the financial constraints and limited number of offshore drilling rigs, joint fields' development is high on the agenda."

Underlining NIOC's policy in using Iranian rigs, the official said, "Having won a tender, a private drilling company will get involved with oil and gas projects in the Persian Gulf in the near future."  

Salman field, located 144 kilometers south of Lavan Island, houses one of the largest installations in the Persian Gulf.

The field's output stands at 47,000 barrels per day from three layers, but it is expected to rise to 70,000 bpd.

About 70% of the field is owned by Iran and the rest is owned by the UAE. In-place reserves of the field have been estimated at about 4.5 billion barrels, 1.6 billion barrels of which are extractable.

  Joint Field With Saudis

Located 100 kilometers southwest of Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf, Forouzan is one of Iran's two joint oilfields with Saudi Arabia. It was discovered in 1996 with an estimated in-place reserves of 2.3 billion barrels of crude.

Production from the field started in 1987 at 180,000 barrels per day, but declined to 40,000 bpd in the 2000s. The country aims to draw more than 300 million barrels of oil from the field within a 25-year timeframe.

In addition, gas extraction stands at nearly 700,000 cubic meters per day, which are transferred to Kharg Island via an undersea pipeline. Iran has 26 joint oil and gas fields with its neighboring countries, but a lack of modern technology and budget has hampered development of fields, allowing neighbors to extract the lion's share from the reserves.

The country is also lagging behind Qatar in terms of extraction from the South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf, with the tiny Arab neighbor reportedly extracing 1.6 times faster from the joint field.

The oilfields under development by IOOC hold an estimated 100 billion barrels of crude, comprising roughly 15% of the country's total oil reserves. Hafezi said extraction from the country's offshore oil reserves is on average higher than that of hydrocarbon resources.

IOOC's total crude production is close to 500,000 barrels per day, but the company aims to increase output by 32,000 barrels in the short run and by 130,000 and 400,000 barrels in the medium- and long-term respectively.

The company is one of the world's largest offshore oil producing companies, with over half a century of experience. It shares one-third of Iranian oil export, operating on the Iranian side of the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea.

Five countries, namely Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, hold roughly two-thirds of oil reserves and 40% of natural gas reserves in the world.