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Oil Minister: Iran owns 27.5 trillion cm of proven gas reserves

Assalouyeh, April 16, IRNA-Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said here Saturday that Iran holds 27.5 trillion cubic meters of proven natural gas reserves.

Addressing inaugural ceremony of the phases four and five of the development South Pars gas field in presence of President Mohammad Khatami here on Saturday, Zanganeh said dlrs 16 billion had been invested in Iran's oil and gas industry over the past seven years.

Zanganeh said two third of the investments in the oil and gas sectors had been in the buy-back and finance forms, with government playing no role in the process, and only one third of the investments had been made out of resources of the National Iranian Oil Company in the period.

He said the 27.5 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves have made Iran the second major gas rich country and fourth major gas producer in the world.

He added that five phases of South Pars gas field, which have so far come on stream, earn the country dlrs 5.87 billion a year, raising GNP by five percent.

The minister said there are 45 million gas subscribers in Iran and considering growing need of domestic market to the fuel, the government is determined to expedite operation of oil fields, especially in the form of joint venture projects.

He said part of domestic gas should be injected to oil fields and stored for future generations.

He added that export of LNG and related products are among other policies of the government for presence on world markets and earning more incomes.

Zanganeh said that national gas refining capacity rose to 383 million cubic meters last year from 129 million cubic meters in 1996.

Gas holds a share of 59 percent in the national energy basket, and the figure is expected to rise to 62 percent this year, said Zanganeh, adding that Iran is among a few countries whose gas constitutes 60 percent of the energy basket.

Regarding huge amount of reserves discovered in the country, the gas output of the country would rise to 13 trillion cubic meters in the next 30 years and less than half of the country's reserves would become operational.

Meanwhile, in an interview with reporters here on Saturday, Zanganeh said dlrs 11 billion worth of contracts had been signed for development of South Pars gas field in southern Assalouyeh port in Bushehr province.

Zanganeh said besides the five phases, operational so far, the phases six, seven and eight which in different stages of progress would be put into operation early next Iranian calendar year of 1385 (to start on March 21, 2006).

He said phases nine and ten whose products are similar to phases four and five are to be put into operation in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

He said the South Pars gas field is scheduled to be developed in in 24 phases. Contracts for implementation of 18 phases were signed during President Mohammad Khatami's tenure.

Operation of each phase of South Pars adds one percent to GNP, said Zanganeh.

Each project for development of South Pars would directly provide jobs for more than 20,000 people and direct employment would provide three indirect jobs, he added.

South Pars projects have raised the number of gas subscribers to 45 million from 19 million in 1996.

Elsewhere in the interview, Zanganeh referred to recent oil market conditions coupled with price hikes, saying any factor which would cause tension on the markets should be avoided because calm would benefit both producers and consumers.

"OPEC has not acted against the US, although the US has imposed restrictions on certain OPEC members," said Zanganeh.

President Mohammad Khatami inaugurated phases four and five of South Pars gas field here on Saturday.

The two phases of South Pars daily produce 50 million cubic meters of natural gas, 80,000 barrels of gas condensate, 400 tons of sulfur and one million tons of ethane as the feedstock for Jam Petrochemical Facility, besides exporting 1.05 million tons of liquefied gases per year.

The buy-back projects for implementation of the phases were launched in August 2000 by the National Iranian Oil Company in partnership with Italy's Enni, with a sixty percent stake, Petropars company with a 20 percent stake and Nikou Company with a 20 percent stake.

The projects featured construction of two giant submersible off-shore platforms, and sea jackets, drilling 13 out of 24 wells, laying 32-inch pipelines measuring 100 kilometers, production of 56-inch pipelines for transfer of gas from Kangan refinery measuring 67 kilometers.

The project also included construction of 142 thermal convertors and under pressure utensils, construction and installation of desalination facilities, manufacture of cables and precise instruments, production of different kinds of industrial paints, designing and implementation of civil operations and construction of the two-layer tankers, maintenance of the LPGs for the first time in the country, and installation of steel structures in the refinery.

More than 17,000 work force were involved in the three-year long project for construction of the on-shore and off-shore refineries.

The project has raised Iran's share in extraction of gas from the South Pars gas field.

Transfer of technical know-how and promotion of the knowledge of Iranian experts as well as growth in Iran's share in production of spare parts and related services are among other achievements of the project.

South Pars gas field contains more than eight percent of the world's and more than half of Iran's gas reserves.

A number of government officials accompanied President Khatami in his one-day tour of the region.

... Payvand News - 4/16/05 ... --

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