20 July 2019 - 10:28
  • News Code: 291149
Ferdowsi, Mideast Largest Heavy Oil Field

TEHRAN (Shana) -- The Ferdowsi oil field in the Persian Gulf is among the Middle East reservoirs with about 37 billion barrels of heavy crude oil.

National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) hopes to develop this field under the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) model. Developing Ferdowsi would require five to seven years.

More than 110 years of search have led to the exploration of supergiant South Pars gas field and Azadegan oil field. Iran has more than 100 oil and gas reservoirs, i.e. one new oil/gas field per year over the past century.

Fifty years ago, a Swiss company made a big discovery in the Persian Gulf. No other company has since smashed this record. It was the discovery of the Ferdowsi oil field containing heavy crude oil.

Largest Heavy Crude Oil Field

The Ferdowsi oil field is located west of the South Pars gas field and near the Golshan gas field. Ferdowsi is 190 kilometers far from Bushehr Port and 88 kilometers far from the coastline.

Ferdowsi is a giant heavy crude oil field with some gas in the Dalan and Kangan layers. It is known to be the largest field with heavy crude oil in Iran and the Middle East.

The first exploration well was drilled in 1966 in order to identify heavy crude oil layers. The second well was drilled one year later to examine gas layers potential. Based on the findings of wells 1 and 2, the Swiss company Adax conducted the master development plan (MDP) studies. The findings of studies indicate existence of heavy crude oil in this field.

Ferdowsi is estimated to contain 31 billion barrels of oil in place. It is expected to produce 70,000 b/d of oil. The field is 20 kilometers long and 13 kilometers wide.

After Adax concluded its studies, due to the significance of heavy crude oil reserves and for the purpose of gaining more precise information for the development of Ferdowsi, NIOC instructed the Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC) with conducting 3D seismic testing, drilling two appraisal wells for more precise assessment and taking cores from the crude oil layers to carry out necessary tests. The drilling of the third well in Ferdowsi started in April 2010 in order to assess the oil and gas layers. Initial findings showed that there was abundant heavy crude oil with various API gravities in the Kajdomi, Dariyan, Gadovan, Fahlyan and Sourmeh layers.

Gas Potential in Lower Layers

NIOC drilled a second well in Ferdowsi to study gas potential in the Dalan, Kangan and Faraqoun layers. Gas was proven to exist in these layers in 1967. Based on an appraisal of the Ferdowsi field through the first and second wells, Adax estimated the field’s reservoir at 35 billion barrels with a recovery rate of 6%. But during an announcement about the field in 2015, the field was said to contain 37.1 billion barrels of oil in place.

Development of the Ferdowsi field is among projects aimed at acquiring technology to recover heavy and ultra-heavy crude oil in the fractured carbonated reservoirs with a focus on practical research to choose the most appropriate method for heavy crude oil refinery.


NIOC studies indicate that full development of the Ferdowsi field would need five to seven years. The significant oil and gas reserves, as well as the commerciality of developing this field make investment in these fields attractive.

Given the special nature of technology used in developing heavy crude oil fields and the use of specialized tools, PEDEC has agreed to provide foreign companies with more data in case any MOU is signed for cooperation.

The Ferdowsi field is projected to produce 10,000 b/d of oil in the first phase and more than 300,000 b/d in next phases.

Technology Transfer

Since decades ago, production of heavy crude oil and development of technologies for transfer and refining oil have dominated the world. In Iran, after identifying heavy crude oil fields, studies began in this regard. Although Iran’s petroleum industry has been faced with numerous rounds of sanctions following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian petroleum industrialists have reported to use various methods to produce, transfer and refine crude oil.

However, it does not mean Iran no longer needs modern technologies to produce heavy crude oil. A major objective sought by NIOC in developing these fields is to build partnership with foreign companies in order to transfer in best-in-class technologies to develop oil and gas fields in Iran. This issue has been highlighted in all negotiations.

Courtesy of Iran Petroleum

News Code 291149


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