South Pars Gas Field In Iran: Mismanagements, Contract Delays, and Corruption

The South Pars is a major natural gas condensate field in the Persian Gulf.  It is the world’s largest shared gas field,  Iran shares this field with Qatar.  According to IEA, the South Pars field has an estimated 1,800 trillion cubic feet ( 51 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas and around 50 billion barrels of natural gas condensates. The size of this field is around 3700 square miles, of which 1400 square miles is in Iranian territorial waters, and 2300 square miles in Qatari territorial waters.

The Iranian National Oil Company (NIOC)  announced the discovery of the South Pars Field in 1990,  and its subsidiary the Pars Oil and Gas Company took jurisdiction over all the South Pars-related development projects.  Iranian government designed the development structure of the field in 24 to 30 phases,  hoping to produce 25 billion cubic feet to 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.  The estimated capital investment for each phases was around $1.5 billion.   Yet, since the founding of this field in 1990, developments have been marred by corruption,  mismanagement,  inefficiencies,  and contractual issues. A high-ranking Iranian Oil Ministry official has announced that “Iran should invest one billion dollars every month for the development of projects in the South Pars gas field.  In a stunning revelation,  the National Iranian Oil Company Managing Director Roknodin Javadi said that a delay in investing this sum of money will cause a loss of about $100 million per day for the country.

Bahman Bakhtiari

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