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EghtesadOnline: Natural gas production from three phases of the South Pars Gas Field is slated to begin before the end of the present fiscal year (March 20, 2018), the managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company said.

"Phases 13, 22 and 24 of South Pars will become operational by the yearend, which means no new contract will be signed to develop the phases," Mohammad Meshkinfam was also quoted as saying by ISNA on Friday.

He did not specify when the new phases will reach full production capacity.

The statements mirror Iran's increasing efforts to ramp up natural gas output from the giant South Pars field it shares with Qatar in the Persian Gulf, according to Financial Tribune.

Although the development of South Pars began well over a decade ago, Iran managed to catch up with Qatar's rate of production from the gas field only earlier this year following the launch of five SP phases.

South Pars meets nearly two-thirds of the country's demand for natural gas. It adjoins the North Dome field in Qatar's territorial waters.

Iran is currently producing 550 million cubic meters of gas daily from the joint field. It is also drawing light crude oil from the field at a rate of 25,000 barrels per day.

Meshkinfam added that Phase 2 of the mega gas project is in "the initial stage of design", adding that a contractor to develop the phase will be selected in 2018.

This week, French energy giant Total S.A. signed a contract to develop South Pars Phase 11 to produce more than 50 mcm/d of gas from the phase. Tehran hopes the new South Pars projects will increase the country's gas production to more than 1 billion cubic meters a day.

Iran has the world's second-largest natural gas reserves and the fourth-largest oil reserves, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

South Pars Iran gas field Ira gas