Iran Oil Ministry Priorities for 2017-21 Outlined

Iran Oil Ministry Priorities for 2017-21 OutlinedIran Oil Ministry Priorities for 2017-21 Outlined

Expanding oil loading and export facilities along the Sea of Oman and developing oil and gas reservoirs shared with regional states are front and center on the Oil Ministry agenda for the next four years, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday.

He made the statement in a parliamentary hearing as he made a case for Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, his pick as the oil minister for a second consecutive four-year term, IRNA reported.

Iran's longest-serving minister and Rouhani's oil minister since 2013, Zanganeh is expected to face little challenge from the lawmakers and receive a strong vote of confidence.

The president has named his picks for 17 ministerial slots while only the position of science minister remains vacant.

Rouhani pledged that a new oil export terminal by the Sea of Oman will come into operation in his second term. The plan calls for extending a pipeline to carry crude oil from southern reservoirs to the port of Jask in Hormozgan Province for export.

The port would cut short the traveling distance of tanker ships to Kharg Oil Terminal, Iran's largest oil loading facility in the Persian Gulf, by nearly 1,000 kilometers.

Around 90% of Iran's crude exports are made from the terminal on Kharg Island, 35 kilometers off the Persian Gulf coast. The third-largest OPEC producer exports around 2.2 million barrels a day of crude oil and 600,000 barrels of gas condensates, a type of ultra-light crude.

Jask Oil Terminal will have the capacity of storing up to 30 million barrels and exporting 1 million barrels per day of crude oil once completed. It is estimated to cost upwards of $2 billion and be completed by 2021, the end of Rouhani's presidency.

"Oil exports should not be confined to the Persian Gulf … We plan to develop the Mokran coastal strip," Rouhani told Majlis on Tuesday.

Mokran's shores, stretching along the Sea of Oman, have barely developed into trade and shipping hotspots, save for Jask that is slowly turning into an oil and gas terminal.

Rouhani said the new government will intensify efforts to boost production from joint hydrocarbon reservoirs in his second and last term as president.

"I ask Mr. Zanganeh to focus on joint oil and gas fields, maintaining Iran's share in global oil market and complete the development of South Pars Gas Field by the end of this government," he said.

  Oil, Gas Fields

Iran shares oil and gas fields with Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, most notably the South Pars field in the Persian Gulf that is shared with Qatar as well as several oilfields straddling the Iran-Iraq border.

Under the leadership of Zanganeh, Iran's crude output has climbed to the pre-sanctions level of around 4 million barrels per day and is slated to rise to 4.7 million bpd in four years.

The 64-year-old also accelerated the development of South Pars phases, pushing Iran's extraction rate to match that of Qatar after playing second-fiddle to the Arab nation in production from the giant gas field for two decades.

Iran produces around 880 million cubic meters of gas a day, two-thirds of which come from South Pars.

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