EghtesadOnline: Ethane production from phases 17 and 18 in the giant South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf has risen by 42% after thorough overhaul operations, the head of the complex's seventh refinery said.
"The two phases are producing 3,050 tons of ethane per day that is 20% more than what the phases were originally designed to produce," Hassan As'adi was also quoted as saying by IRNA on Wednesday. According to the official, ethane is one of the most profitable value-added products used as a major feedstock in Asalouyeh petrochemical plants.
Pointing to ethane output level in the seventh refinery at 80%, As'adi said, "Phases 17 and 18 have taken the lead in converting low value added oil commodities to added-value ones like ethane."
Highlighting the implementation of major changes in manufacturing methods, As'adi said, "Theses two phases were designed to produce 2,550 tons of ethane per day, yet the current level is 20% ahead of the projected plan." According to As'adi, phases 17 and 18 have been developed as part of a contract between the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran and the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company where the former was in charge of onshore engineering tasks and purchasing equipment, and the latter developed the offshore platforms, Financial Tribune reported.
In addition to sweetening natural gas and separating gas condensates, the phases produce methane, a chemical compound widely used in petrochemical industries, as well as sulfur and ethane.
Officials say there is a substantial need for ethane in Jam, Kavian, Morvarid, Pars and Arya-Sasol petrochemical plants, because of which expansion of production is on the agenda.
According to Masoud Hassani, the managing director of South Pars Gas Company, ethane production from the giant field is expected to rise by 25% in the current fiscal year (ending March 20) compared to the previous year.
“SPGC’s annual ethane output stood at 2.3 million tons in the last fiscal, which is projected to reach 3.03 million by March, worth about $2.94 billion,” he said, noting that total ethane production in South Pars was 1.12 million tons in 2011-12 and the output is predicted to reach 3.31 million tons in the fiscal 2018-19, which marks a threefold rise in ethane production in seven years. According to Hassani, the main factor contributing to growth is the development of new phases of South Pars.
About the share of South Pars in Iran’s gas production, Hassani said the field had a 64% share in the country’s gas output last year, which reached nearly 70% in the current fiscal.
South Pars is the world's largest gas reservoir in the Persian Gulf shared between Iran and Qatar. It holds an estimated 51 trillion cubic meters of natural gas in place and some 50 billion barrels of gas condensates. The mega gas project is being developed in 24 phases, of which phases 11, 13, 22-24 are not complete yet. Mohammad Meshkinfam, managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company, said last October that the project has registered a work-in-progress rate of 85% and the rest will be completed by March 2019. "More than $70 billion have been spent on the gas project over the last 15 years and the field requires between $20-30 billion in additional spending to become fully operational," he told POGC's website.