Technical Glitch Halts Oil Production

Technical Glitch Halts Oil ProductionTechnical Glitch Halts Oil Production

Oil production from Masjed Soleiman oilfields was halted due to technical problems related to the oil well pumps, the planning director of the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) announced on Monday.

The fault in the well's internal pumps interrupted operations of Chinese contractors, Gholam-Hossein Babadi was quoted by Mehr news agency as saying.

Overhaul operations were conducted on eight sucker rod pumps, the official said, noting that three wells have been fully repaired. Production will resume as soon as repairs are completed.

The report did not provide any details on the Chinese company; but in 2007, development of Masjed Soleiman oilfield was handed over to China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). CNPC is operating under a so-called buyback contract whereby foreign contractors are paid a fixed fee from the proceeds of the finished project. The company was awarded the contract after Canada's Sheer Energy Company (SEC) withdrew because of US sanctions against Iran.

The contract with the Chinese company, valued at $200 million, stipulates production of 25,000 barrels of oil per day.

Masjed Soleiman oilfield, initially discovered and drilled by a British company in 1908, is Iran's oldest oilfield, and the first oil discovery in the Middle East. It is located in Khuzestan Province, in southwestern Iran.

A total of 317 wells have been drilled in the field so far. The field's maximum production dates back to 1933, when it used to produce 112,000 barrels per day.

The field supplies the required fuel for Bid Boland refinery, located in Behbahan County, Khuzestan Province. In turn, the refinery provides gas for the city of Masjed Soleiman and its industries. A portion of the field's production is to be transferred to Mahshahr port, as feedstock for petrochemical complexes in the vicinity.

Development project of Masjed Soleiman Refinery was handed over to Chinese contractors during an official ceremony held on Sunday.