Iran’s media reported on Saturday that the country is pressing ahead serious plans to develop several giant oil fields that it shares with Iraq on the western banks of Karoun River in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
On the same front, officials have criticized the poor performance of Chinese contractors in the fields, but nevertheless emphasized that a significant progress in operations have been made under the government of President Hassan Rouhani who took office in 2013.
“The fields on the western banks of Karoun River are today the key fronts for the Ministry of Petroleum and among its most prioritized projects,” said Abdolreza Haji Hossein Nejad, the managing director of Petroleum Engineering Development Company (PEDEC).
Haji Hossein Nejad added that Iran has already drafted a long-term plan to produce over 1 million barrels per day of oil from West Karoun fields.
The oil fields in West Karoun are Yadavaran, North Azadegan, South Azadegan, North Yaran, and South Yaran. The biggest among all are South Azadegan and Yadavaran which are shared with Iraq’s Majnoon and Sinbad fields, respectively. Iran awarded Yadavaran to Sinopec in 2007 and South Azadegan to CNPC in 2009.
Haji Hossein Nejad, whose company is the development arm of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), criticized that little progress has been made in the development of the fields over the past years that they have been in the hands of Chinese contractors.
“The Chinese contractor brought in only three rigs in South Azadegan field in 19 months after winning the contract. This is while the Ministry of Petroleum [under President Hassan Rouhani] managed to bring in 16 rigs since September 2013,” Haji Hossein Nejad told the Persian-language newspaper Jahan-e San’at.
“The Chinese contractors have largely double charged the Ministry of Petroleum over South Azadegan and other West Karoun fields,” he said, adding that the qualities of services as well as the equipment brought in by the Chinese contractors have also been low.
Haji Hossein Nejad further said a vast portion of West Karoun operation areas were former theaters of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) and have been thus full of leftover ordinances. Still, he added, they have been mostly cleared over the past few years.
The official further added that many companies including several from France and Japan have already shown interest in West Karoun fields. “However, they have informed Iran that they have to wait for the sanctions on the country to be lifted first,” he added.
By Press TV
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