The Norwegian oil and gas giant Statoil announced Wednesday the first of three jackets for wellhead platforms required in phases six-eight of the South Pars development had been installed and that drilling was scheduled to start in February, IRNA reported from London.
The jacket, weighing some 1,500 tons, was deployed to a depth of 65 metres in the Persian Gulf during the early morning of 5 January and the job of attaching it to the seabed with four 180-meter piles will begin in about 14 days, it said.
Rune Mordal, Statoil's project manager for fabricating the platforms, said that the other two steel underframes were also close to completion, putting the drilling on schedule.
South Pars is the world's largest offshore gas field at and the development of the three phases, awarded to Statoil, is equal in size to Norway's largest Troll field in the North Sea.
The estimated Dlrs 3 billion project includes producing about 650 billion cubic meter gas and 700 million barrels natural gas liquids (NGL). The first of the three wellhead platforms is due to be ready for production in early 2005.
Statoil, which has established a project organisation in Teheran with its Iranian partner Petropars, subcontacted the engineering, procurement and installation to build the jackets to local company, Isoico, carrying out the work at Bandar Abbas.
Iran's Sadra was also awarded an engineering, procurement and construction contract and has also recently begun topside fabrication for the project in the Iranian port of Busher.
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