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Iran’s natural gas output hits record high even as US sanctions curb investment

Iran’s natural gas production has reached a record high even as US sanctions caused major international exploration companies to scale back their activities in the Islamic Republic.

Production has hit a record of 1.04 Bcm/d, Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said Feb. 7 on the sidelines of a petrochemicals conference in Tehran. Iran in April last year officially began the long-delayed development of phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field. Output in early 2020 was 670 million cm/d.

The original development contract signed in 2017 by France’s Total and China’s CNPC was taken over by leading Iranian contractor Petropars after US sanctions were tightened under former President Donald Trump. First Total, one year after the signing, and later CNPC left the project, whose worth at the time was $4.9 billion. It was the second time Total had pulled out of this project since the first contract was signed in 2006 due to the US sanctions.

Phase 11 is the last of the 24 phases in the massive offshore gas field, shared with Qatar, to go under development and is expected to produce 56 million cu m/d of gas.

Iran aimed to reach a record of 1 Bcm/d gas production in its 2020-21 year that started March 20, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said in April.

He put the giant gas field’s output at 670 million cu m/d in early 2020. According to the oil ministry’s new service Shana, despite floods and the coronavirus crisis, the country’s total gas production stood at 725 million cu m/d over its 2019-20 New Year holiday in March 2020.

In March 2019-March 2020, Iran produced a total of 267 Bcm. The country’s gas production of around 280 billion-290 billion cu m of gas per year was set to reach 500 billion cu m in 2041, which could earn the country $350 billion, Hassan Montazer-Torbati, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Co., said in a speech, according to an oil ministry report on Feb. 2, 2021.
Source: Platts

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