A spokesman for the British company told IRNA that the 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) field, which is being developed with the adjacent Norouz field, should be ready in a "matter of weeks," once it is up to full production and final checks are carried out.
"Shell is disappointed about the setback, but will fulfill its responsibility to its client, NIOC under the terms of the contract," he said.
Soroush had been scheduled to be handed over by the end of 2004, but it was understood that in preparations for the start process, a vessel sustained damage.
A team of specialists have been sent to the Persian Gulf and it is believed that Shell has accepted that the vessel will need replacement.
Part of the company's responsibilities will be to pay NIOC a penalty in the clauses of the contract for late completion of the work. Shell declined to indicate what the amount is likely to be, citing commercial confidentiality.
Shell was awarded a contract to redevelop Soroush and Norouz fields, located in the shallow waters some 80 kilometers west of Iran's Kharg Island terminal, in 1999.
The agreement with development costs of Dlrs 800 million was based on Iran's 'buy-back' arrangement, under which Shell will be repaid to the value of the capital expended plus a remuneration fee.
Early production on the fields, which have reserves estimated at some 500 and 550 million barrels respectively, started in 2001. Norouz, which is due to produce 90,000 bpd, is expected to be handed over early this year.
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