EghtesadOnline: Crude oil production from the giant South Azadegan field near the Iraqi border will exceed 170,000 barrels per day by the end of the current fiscal year (March 20, 2019), the director of the field's development project said.
"The field's current output stands at 100,000 bpd. Drilling operations are underway to increase the extraction rate by 70,000 bpd in nine months," Mohammad Ali Ajdari was also quoted as saying by the National Iranian Oil Company's news portal on Wednesday.
"Currently, 13 drilling rigs are operating in the field by Iranian firms," Ajdari added, noting that the field's development is being carried out with the help of domestic contractors and internal financial resources.
The official said tenders for drilling 10 new wells have been held, the results of which will be announced next week, Financial Tribune reported.
"When the new tenders come into force, four new drilling machineries will be added to the field to expedite the operations," he said.
Stressing the importance of preserving the environment, he said drilling machinery is optimized with modern waste management systems that would help protect the environment and reduce air pollution.
The current drilling operations in the field are conducted by the National Iranian Drilling Company. According to NIDC, some 40 wells are near completion.
NIDC was tasked with drilling 60 wells in South Azadegan, which is being implemented ahead of schedule.
The overall process of drilling 20 other wells in the field has registered a 54.84% progress, the development of which is among the company's priorities.
Ajdari said schemes have been devised for the maintenance of oil wells against erosions, which have been made by increasing the water level in Hour al-Azim Wetland near South Azadegan.
"Several packages provided to fix the wells will be tendered in the near future," he added.
Located 100 km west of the provincial city of Ahvaz, South Azadegan is estimated to hold 33 billion barrels of oil in place. It is part of a string of oilfields in the West Karoun block in the southern oil-rich Khuzestan Province near the border with Iraq. The block includes North Azadegan, Yaran, Yadavaran and Darkhoveyn fields, holding an estimated 67 billion barrels of oil in place.
The field's development started three years ago and 30 domestic companies have contributed to the project. It is owned by NIOC and operated by Iran's Petroleum Engineering and Development Company.
South Azadegan is being developed in two phases: Production is set to reach 320,000 bpd in the first phase and 600,000 barrels daily in the second and final phase.
Officials estimate that raising the rate of recovery from West Karoun oilfields by 1% would increase recoverable reserves by 670 million barrels, or some $33 billion in revenues at $50 a barrel.
Iran is pinning hopes on the investment and knowhow of international oil companies to enhance South Azadegan's extraction rate.
South Azadegan's development is estimated to require $5 billion in investment.