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EghtesadOnline: In line with the policy to prioritize development of joint oilfields, the first phase of production from Azar Oilfield in the west, with the capacity of 15,000 barrels per day has commenced after a long delay.

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh made the statement on Tuesday on the sidelines of a ceremony to start the oilfield's development in Mehran, Ilam Province, near the border with Iraq, Shana reported.

The field holds 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil and is expected to produce up to 65,000 bpd as soon as the second phase is completed in 2018, Zanganeh said.

It is one of the six joint fields with Iraq, along with Dehloran, West Paydar, Naft-Shahr, Azadegan and Yadavaran, according to Financial Tribune.

Pointing to the extended delay, he said, Russia’s oil company Lukoil, Norway's renewable energy company Norsk Hydro ASA, Malaysia's Petronas and Russia's Gazprom were among companies that started developing the oilfield in 2003, but work was delayed due to the international restrictions.

"It was in 2013 that the National Iranian Oil Company signed a contract with a domestic consortium including the Oil Industry Pension Fund Investment Company, also known as OPIC, a subsidiary of the Oil Ministry, Oil Industries Engineering and Construction (OIEC) and Sarvak Azar Engineering and Development Company. The consortium was commissioned to produce around 30,000 bpd from the field in three years. Nonetheless, due to the complex geological structure of the field, the venture was further delayed."

Underscoring the fact that the field was considered a drillers' nightmare given the sequence of its low- and high-pressure layers, and the large number of tubes for drilling and lining of the wells, the minister said hydraulic fracturing was another challenge in the field, which was solved with acid fracturing, a popular method for improved oil recovery.

Zanganeh noted that crude from the field will be transferred to Dehloran refining facility in Ilam Province to be shipped to target destinations.

Asked about Azar Oilfield's crude quality, he said the oil's API, a measure of how heavy or light a petroleum liquid is compared to water, stands at 33.

Iran oil Iran Oilfields Iran Azar Oilfield