EghtesadOnline: Iran has reported a lower than expected natural gas output from its giant South Pars field, as the country continues maintenance activities at some of the field's phases in the Persian Gulf.
"The country produced close to 94 billion cubic meters of gas from the joint field with Qatar between March 21 and Oct. 22, or about 435 million cubic meters per day," Abdolrahman Salehi, an official at South Pars Gas Complex, was quoted as saying by Shana.
In April, Iran said it hit a milestone in production from the world's largest gas field after the launch of five South Pars phases that reportedly boosted output to around 600 million mcm/d, almost on a par with that of Qatar that shares the field with Iran.
But the overhaul of South Pars facilities has impacted output. According to reports, at least eight South Pars refineries were taken offline for maintenance operations in the last few months while major repairs at phases 9 and 10 were underway at least through the end of September, Financial Tribune reported.
Platts quoted informed sources as saying in September that unexpected disruption in an unnamed phase of South Pars had stretched maintenance activity at the field by two more months.
Previously, sources from the National Iranian Oil Company had confirmed unscheduled maintenance activity in the field following a leak at one of the phases, saying, "There is a leak at one of the phases, [with a] little bit decline [in production]," the Platts report said.
According to government data, Iran produces over 800 mcm/d of natural gas when its gas fields are operating at full swing, nearly two-thirds of which come from South Pars. Officials say gas production is planned to reach 1.1 billion cubic meters per day in four years. Salehi also said close to 115 million barrels of condensates, or nearly 530,000 barrels a day, were produced in the seven-month period. Condensate is a type of ultra light crude that is often included in Iran's crude oil export data.
Iran's condensate exports have averaged 550,000 barrels per day this year, but loadings fell to 295,000 bpd in Oct. and are set to rise slightly to 297,000 barrels per day this month, according to a report by Reuters, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Asia was the biggest market for Iranian crude oil in October, taking in 63% of its shipments, as customers in Europe purchased 37% of the country's exports last month, Iran's Oil Ministry said on Tuesday.
The complex also produced over 1.3 million tons of propane and butane, which are the building blocks for many petrochemical products.
Iran hopes to complete all South Pars phase by March 2019, a target that officials say requires between $20 billion and $30 billion in investment.
Iran also began to draw crude oil from the oil layer of South Pars in March and is now producing an average of 19,000 barrels a day.