5 May 2007 - 10:50
  • News Code: 103836

TEHRAN -- Production from the Azadegan oilfield will start ahead of the schedule, said the National Iranian Drilling Co. (NIDC) managing director Friday.

Upon completion of the drilling operations on the seventh exploration well, the giant field is expected to become operational earlier than due time, Heidar Bahmani added.

In addition to the drilling, the NIDC also supplies raw material and carries out engineering operations of the field.

He announced that the NIDC has purchased eight drilling rigs from Chinese companies through cooperation of domestic companies.

The official assured that his company is not facing with any shortage of rigs, according to Mehr.

Azadegan field, located in southeastern Iran, near the border with Iraq, is estimated to contain 26 billion barrels of oil. The field is regarded as one of the largest untapped oil reserves in the world.

Bahmani announced last month that NIDC has drilled six exploratory wells in the field so far and drilling of the 7th well is at the final stages. "Once the drilling job is completed, the early production of the field will start."

"NICO, the client of the project, is providing the required equipment for drilling the developmental wells", Bahmani said, noting, "NIDC has posed no limitations in this regard. Drilling of the developmental wells will begin once NICO is ready for us to start the work."

"The exploratory wells drilled so far will become developmental wells at the early production stage," he added.

Earlier, Iran"s oil minister had said that the drilling job in the field had already started.

Once the project is completed, crude oil production at the Azadegan field is expected to increase to 340,000 barrels per day.

The National Iranian South Oil Company has two plans for production from the Azadegan Oilfield, the company"s managing director Seifollah Jashnsaz said, dividing them into short-term and long-term.

In the short-term plan, which will take two years for completion, 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil will be produced from the field, he explained. "And then production will increase to 340,000 bpd once the long-term plan is implemented which takes four years," Jashnsaz added.

He said that NISOC expects to develop Azadegan at the cost of $3 billion.

Oil companies such as France"s Total, China"s Sinopec, Italy"s Agip, and Russia"s LukOil have expressed willingness to take part in the development of Azadegan, he noted.

To develop the field, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) signed a $2 billion deal with Japan"s INPEX in February 2004, in which the Japanese firm held 75 percent of shares.

However, the deal met delays in implementation, in part due to rows over mine-sweeping operations at the field. Disputes continued until last September when INPEX"s shares reduced to 10 percent, based on an agreement with the NIOC.

Currently NIOC marketing subsidiary, Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), holds 90 percent of Azadegan"s stakes, with the operatorship awarded to Petroiran Development Company (PEDCO).

PEDCO and NISOC are both affiliated to the National Iranian Oil Company.

News Code 103836

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