South Pars gas field with an area of 9,700 km2, as the biggest global source of gas, is located in common border of Iran and Qatar in Persian Gulf. Gas reserves in this region, which are estimated around 51 trillion m2 of natural gas and 50 billion barrels of gas-condensates, are about 27% of global proved gas reserves.
Iranian part of South Pars gas field with an area about 3,700 km2 along with 14 trillion m2 of natural gas and 19 billion barrels of gas-condensates is one of the main sources of energy in Iran, which prepares more than half of Iran’s proved gas reserves and 8% of global natural gas reserves. Developing of South Pars gas field in order to cover growing demand of natural gas, gas injection into the oil fields, gas export, production of gas-condensate and liquid gas as the feedstock of petrochemical units has been doing in the form of 24 phases. Pars Oil and Gas Company, as the first and biggest extender of South Pars gas field, has undertaken the several phases. The main products of South Pars gas field contain reservoir fuels, sweet gas, sour gas, ethane gas, liquid ethane, propane, butane, gas-condensate and sulfur. The gas production target of mentioned phases will be about 700 million cubic meter per day.
Until now, 18 phases include phase: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12,15,16,17,18,19,20,21 are operating which has led to increasing gas products to 575 million cubic meters per day in 2017 compared with 250 million cubic meters per day in 2013. The governmental oil company of Qatar announced the daily capacity of Qatar gas about 566 Million cubic meter in last month according to Mehrnews Agency. Therefore, the gas exploitation of Iran in South Pars gas field has become equal to Qatar and this is considered as the strategic advantage for Iran among countries in the region.
The total gas production of Iran and Qatar from 1970 to 2015 are shown in the chart below:
It should be noted that the only source of Qatar’s gas supply is South Pars gas field however Iran gets half of its needs from south pars gas field because of Iran’s numerous enriched gas reserves. In the chart below, top 10 countries in terms of gas reserves have been shown and as it is demonstrated, Iran holds the second place:
In recent years with imposing international sanctions on Iran, many development plans especially in petrochemical sector mainly postponed because of financing problems and lack of investment. In this regard, launching of many phases of South Pars gas field has been delayed from 2013. After JCPOA, better investment conditions get foreign companies’ attention to our country and its available investment opportunities like unfinished phases in South Pars gas field. As a sample, Total Company is one of ten supermajor oil companies which has been taking part in several development plans in Middle-East region for some decades.
Total intends to invest in phase 11 of South Pars gas field besides Pars Oil and Gas Company and CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation) with a share of 50.1%, 19.9% and 30% respectively. Production capacity of the mentioned phase will be about 56 million cubic meters per day which needs around 4 billion Dollars investment in order to reach this goal. The main feature of the progress of phase 11 will be a record in construction of onshore gas refineries.
To conclude, operating different phases of South Pars gas field because of common gas field with Qatar, has great importance for Iran. Some of these advantages are improvement of:
- Export of petroleum products
- National income
- Employment rate
- The quality of service and equipment
- Bargaining power among the surrounding nations
And finally, if all phases of South Pars start to operate, this can lead to promotion of Iran’s international place and as a result, foreign investors with more confident will enter to Iran’s market and also cheaper financing will be available for Iranian projects considering JCOPA and sanction lifting.