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EghtesadOnline: The amount of associated petroleum gases that are burned off at the 4th South Pars Refinery has been curtailed by 23% per year, an official who oversees the refinery's operations said on Saturday.

"The flaring of associated gases at the 4th South Pars Refinery has been curtailed by 23%, or more than 14 million cubic meters annually," Behzad Salari was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on Saturday.

The refinery receives natural gas from phases 6, 7 and 8 of the giant South Pars field that is shared by Iran and Qatar in the Persian Gulf.

It consists of offshore and onshore sections and is one of the biggest gas refineries in the Middle East with a daily processing capacity of 110 million cubic meters, according to the website of the South Pars Gas Complex, operator of the mega gas project that is being developed in 24 phases, Financial Tribune reported.

Salari also said that measures have been taken to reduce annual water consumption at the refinery, mainly for cooling and cleaning the equipment, by 18,000 cubic meters a year.

Associated gas, or APG, is natural gas found with deposits of petroleum. Flaring is the burning of natural gas that cannot be processed or sold. Flaring is an important safety measure at many oil and gas production site, as it prevents industrial plant equipment from over-pressuring and exploding, yet burning high levels of APG is a major source of pollution.

According to recent reports, around 17 billion cubic meters of gas are burned off in Iran annually, which means a $4-6 billion loss for the treasury.

The United States has the largest number of flares, but Russia leads the world in the total volume of flared natural gas, according to British scientific journal 'Nature' that has placed Iran among the top three gas-flaring countries after Russia and Iraq.

Shana, the news portal of Oil Ministry, quoted a gas official as saying last month that Iran burned off as much as 56 million cubic meters of gas per week in 2008, which roughly equals the output of a standard South Pars phase in a day. Flaring has now declined to 5 million cubic meters per week.

--- Phase 12 Production

Close to 25 billion cubic meters of natural gas were injected into the national grid from the South Pars Gas Field’s Phase 12 refinery in the past fiscal year that ended in March, the phase’s director said on Saturday.

Inaugurated under the tenure of President Hassan Rouhani, Phase 12 is South Pars’ biggest phase in terms of activities, investment and production level.

Salari noted that within the 12-month span, more than 26.3 million barrels of gas condensates were produced in Phase 12 refinery.

“Phase 12 supplied about 100,000 tons of sulfur to internal and foreign destinations, which made roughly $1.6 billion in revenues in the last fiscal,” he said.

Iran Gas Flaring South Pars Refinery Iran South Pars