EghtesadOnline: Iran's Petroleum Engineering and Development Company has signed a contract with unnamed international companies to lease transportable refining equipment to increase crude output in West Karoun block in the southern Khuzestan Province, the chief executive officer of PEDEC said.
"The skid-mounted modular mini refining crude units with a capacity to process 50,000 barrels per day will start to work in different oilfields in West Karoun from March," Noureddine Shahnazi-Zadeh was also quoted as saying by ISNA on Tuesday.
According to the official, as long as the challenge of refining is not met, production cannot be raised, because of which PEDEC has rented skid-mounted units to be settled in certain points until huge refineries are constructed.
A modular refinery is a unit whose parts are constructed in modules designed to be transported quickly and easily anywhere in the world and comes in a variety of sizes with capacities ranging from 500 to 50,000 barrels per day, Financial Tribune reported.
"Two or more units can be combined and installed on a single site to meet higher capacity requirements and to allow for the flexibility of simultaneous processing of more than one type of crude oil," he said.
Commenting on the advantages of the modular units, the official noted that with new oilfields being discovered all the time, these small plants can be easily moved from one location to the next or transformed into larger or redesigned plants. This gives developers low capital costs and a fast turnaround time, thus bringing them rapid returns on their cost/barrel investments.
Moreover, it reduces the need not only for on-site skilled labor but also energy use.
Reportedly, mini refineries can produce a variety of byproducts ranging from naphtha, gasoline and jet fuel to diesel. These units are also designed for the efficient processing of various crude products.
Pointing to other urgent measures to increase output, Shahnazi-Zadeh said, "PEDEC has also purchased wellhead installations, including compressors and pumps that can raise West Karoun crude production by 30,000 bpd."
West Karoun includes several large oilfields straddling the Iran-Iraq border, namely Azadegan, Yaran, Yadavaran and Darkhoein, with the first three divided into north and south projects. The block holds an estimated 67 billion barrels of oil in place.
Giving a breakdown on the oil output rise venture from the block, he added that Yadavaran Oilfield production at 110,000 bpd will grow by 10,000 bpd. Furthermore, the production level in North Azadegan and Yaran oilfields at 75,000 and 25,000 respectively will each increase by 5,000 bpd. He noted that South Azadegan Oilfield is producing 120,000 barrels per day, but with the help of new skid-mounted units, the output can experience a 30,000-bpd rise.
"Processing equipment was a major challenge in Azadegan. Nonetheless, implementing appropriate measures has helped PEDEC cope with the key issue successfully," he added.
Officials say Iran is currently drawing crude from West Karoun block at an unacceptable extraction rate of 5-6%, but plans call for raising the recovery rate to 25% by implementing advanced recovery methods.
Tehran has prioritized the development of its joint oil deposits to expand its footprint in the global crude market. The No. 3 producer of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has increased output to almost 4 million barrels per day.