Eni Ready to Resume Darkhovein Project

Eni Ready to Resume Darkhovein Project
Eni Ready to Resume Darkhovein Project

Italian oil and gas company Eni has expressed readiness to resume operations in the Darkhovein oil field in south Iran, managing director of the Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC) said, Mehr news agency reported.

"Eni has officially contacted the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to invest in the third development phase of the Darkhovein field," Abdolreza Haji Hossein-Nejad said, adding that the oil industry is open to foreign investment and Eni can start negotiations to continue its operations in Iran.

Eni came to Iran in the early 2000s. The company was to develop Phase 3 of the Darkhoveyn field in Khuzestan Province and Phase 19 of the South Pars field in the Persian Gulf before the sanctions.

The US imposed tough sanctions on Iran to curb the country's nuclear program which it claims is geared to military use. Iran insists it is peaceful. Iran and the P5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany) were unable to reach a "comprehensive deal" to resolve the 12-year dispute by a November 24 deadline, and gave themselves seven more months to resolve the deadlock that has prevented an historic deal.

An EU ban on Iranian oil imports came into force in July 2012, prohibiting the trade of petroleum and petrochemical products from Iran. However, Eni had a special exemption enabling it to continue receiving crude despite the EU embargo; having been among the European companies chosen by the US government to have limited operations in Iran provided that they would eventually leave.

Darkhovein is located 30 kilometers north of Khorramshahr. It is estimated to hold around 5.2 billion barrels of oil, 1.3 billion barrels of which recoverable. The field's output is to reach 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the next five years.

Development of phase one commenced in 2005 with $1.3 billion investment. Phase 2 was completed in cooperation with Eni in 2011, increasing the field's output by 160,000 bpd.

To develop the first and second phases of the field, 28 wells were drilled, including 23 for production, 4 for injecting gas and one for injecting wastewater.

In 2011, PEDEC signed a deal worth $1.6 billion with a consortium of four Iranian companies to develop phase 3. The field's production is aimed to increase by 71,000 bpd.