Iran Expects New South Pars Gas Production to Start in October


DUBAI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Iran plans to bring online two new gas operations in October after the OPEC member completes development of another section of the world's largest gas field, its oil minister said on Tuesday.

Iran and Qatar share the field, which Iran calls South Pars and Qatar calls the North Field. It straddles their offshore Gulf border and accounts for nearly all of Qatar's gas production and about 35 percent of Iran's.

Development phases 15 and 16 of the South Pars field are close to starting production and will be inaugurated by President Hassan Rouhani in October, Iranian Oil Minister, Bijan Zangeneh, said at a news conference, according to Shana news agency.

Production capacity from the two phases is expected to reach 1.7 billion cubic feet (bcf) a day within a month, Shana, the oil ministry news agency, said. The phases will also produce 75,000 barrels per day of gas condensate.

Iran has huge gas reserves. It exports small quantities to Turkey but has been unable to increase production quickly enough to meet its own demand and northern Iran relies heavily on gas imports from Turkmenistan, especially for heating in winter.

Iran's gas production, excluding flared and re-injected gas, more than doubled to 160.5 bcm by 2012 from 75 bcm in 2002.

Khatam al-Anbia, the engineering arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, won the tendering for phases 15 and 16 of South Pars in 2005, Shana said.

(Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Susan Fenton)


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