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Major investment needed to avoid output fall at Iran's South Pars natural gas field: Petropars

Dubai — Iran will need to invest heavily in compression platforms at its giant South Pars gas field if it is to arrest falling gas and condensate production, the CEO of state-owned energy firm Petropars said Sunday.

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"Many phases of the South Pars gas field have entered the dropping region of production plateau. To overcome the production drop, compression platforms have been planned to compensate the drop in reservoir pressure," Petropars CEO Hamid Akbary said at the Condensate and Naphtha forum in Dubai.

Studies have already begun for the compression platforms and the first engineering, procurement and construction contracts are expected in 2018, he added, saying the required investments are "substantial."

This is the first time any Iranian official has spoken about production from South Pars falling naturally unless mitigated, Iman Nasseri, a senior consultant with Facts Global Energy, said at the Dubai conference.



Iran's condensate production has exceeded 610,000 b/d this year, with 561,000 b/d of this -- or around 90% -- coming from the 16 operating phases at the giant offshore South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, Akbary said.

The latest additions to the project were phases 17, 18 and 19, which came into operation this year, Akbary said.

In addition, eight new phases are currently being installed at the field. Phases 20 and 21 will become operational in 2017, Akbary said, while phases 13 and 22-24 are expected to begin in 2018. Iran hopes the entire development will be completed in 2021.

By then, South Pars condensate production will exceed 1 million b/d.

Smaller offshore fields under development could add another 50,000 b/d, with a further 55,000 b/d on top of this should additional projects be approved.

Onshore fields could add a further 115,000 b/d, taking total capacity to more than 1.2 million b/d.


DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION TO RISE


Iran's domestic consumption currently stands at around 260,000 b/d, leaving a surplus of more than 350,000 b/d this year. But consumption is forecast to rise to more than 700,000 b/d by 2021 with the completion of new condensate splitters, such as the 360,000 b/d Persian Gulf Star.

Akbary said that, as a result, Iran's condensate exports are expected to drop to around 250,000 b/d in 2021.

Persian Gulf Star is already gearing up for full operations. The refinery flare was ignited in March and the first distillation tower came into operation to process 120,000 b/d of South Pars condensate in October, Akbary said.

First production is expected early next year from one train. The second train will begin operating in early 2017, with full production in late 2018.

The refinery aims to produce 28,000 b/d of gasoil, 78,000 b/d of naphtha, 7,000 b/d of kerosene, 6,500 b/d of LPG and 1,300 b/d of fuel oil.

Further behind is the development of the SIRAF complex, which will include eight 60,000 b/d refineries, developed and operated by Iran's private sector.

The first is expected in late-2021, Akbary said. Land and feedstock has already been allocated, along with technology licenses and basic designs, but not all of the projects have found a developer.

Iran's forecast condensate demand in 2021 (b/d)


--Adal Mirza, adal.mirza@spglobal.com
--Edited by James Leech, james.leech@spglobal.com