South Pars is the world’s largest gas field, but it also has significant oil reserves which Iran shares with Qatar across from the Persian Gulf.
According to Managing Director of Pars Oil and Gas Company Mohammad Meshkinfam, almost 25,000 barrels a day of oil are currently extracted from South Pars oil layers. Qatar, in comparison, produces 300,000 barrels a day.
Iran’s development of the South Pars oil layers is still at the pilot phase, but the country sees positive prospects for 150,000 barrels per day of recovery in the currently producing reservoir.
Officials have said the development of the layers is a complex process requiring integrated development.
“We are looking for a competent contractor who can make a commitment on production. Iranian companies are interested in getting money and digging wells. We are looking for cumulative production,” former deputy head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Gholamreza Manouchehri has said.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was in talks with Denmark’s Maersk Group for the second phase development of the South Pars oil layer.
"Using modern technologies and horizontal drilling in view of the heaviness of the oil at the South Pars layer are the most important development scenarios for this oil field which is shared with Qatar,” Manouchehri said in October 2016.
Only a few international companies are in possession of such technologies, with the Danish company considered to be a “powerful” candidate for the development of the South Pars oil layer, Manouchehri said.
However, French oil major Total’s acquisition of Maersk’s oil and gas business in a $7.45 billion deal cancelled out Iran’s plans.
Total, which had signed a contract to develop phase 11 of South Pars gas field, withdrew after the US imposed sanctions on Iran last year.
On Wednesday, ISNA quoted Meshkinfam as saying that several Iranian companies are negotiating to take over the development of the South Pars oil layers.
“Since Maersk merged into Total, we stopped negotiations with the company due to the presence of Total on the Qatari side. At present, we are negotiating with some Iranian companies to develop the layers, with the negotiations being confidential,” he said.