Tehran, July 12, IRNA-The hydrocarbon-rich southern area of Assalouyeh has absorbed some 20 billion dollars in foreign investments since 1997, when President Mohammad Khatami took office, the English-language paper `Iran Daily' wrote Tuesday.
The daily quoted managing director of Pars Special Economic Zone, Mehdi Karbassian, as saying that Assalouyeh will play a crucial role in the future of Iran's economy.
"The 20-billion-dollar investment is expected to increase by fivefold in the next 10 years," Karbassian said, adding that while Iran failed to speed up the gas production process from southern South Pars field due to US sanctions in the initial years, it has managed to rival Qatar in terms of production from the shared field.
US sanctions have led to poor participation of foreign companies in oil and gas projects in Iran.
Karbassian said eight phases of the 28-phase project would create 60,000 jobs.
"In the beginning, the South Pars development project had stipulated 12 phases and this was later increased to 28 phases", he said, stressing that the incoming government will conclude contracts for developing phases 21-28.
However, some conservative parliamentarians have expressed their dissatisfaction with the trend of works in the oil and gas industry, calling for a probe into the Oil Ministry's performance.
A senior lawmaker said last week all gas export agreements should be reviewed by the incoming administration, stressing that the oil industry structures need reforms.
Kamal Daneshyar, who heads the Majlis Energy Commission said the South Pars gas field has the capacity to increase production by tenfold, stressing that the next government must give top priority to this.
"The field is currently producing almost 125 million cubic meters of gas and this figure has to reach one billion," he said, adding that higher gas production will lead to a rise in oil production as the gas can be injected into oil wells for recovery purposes."
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