South Pars FPSO arrives

‘Essential’ vessel built in Singapore

Petroiran Development Company (Pedco) is taking possession of a $300 million floating production, storage and offloading vessel for use at the South Pars Oil Layer project, write Vahe Petrossian and Xu Yihe.

The FPSO was built in Singapore and is now in Persian Gulf waters, said Pedco managing director Roham Qasemi.

The builder of the vessel is unknown. Chinese yard Cosco had been negotiating a contract with state-owned Petroleum Engineering & Development Company (Pedec) for a $350 million FPSO at the turn of the decade, but the company this week denied being involved.

Iran’s difficulties in obtaining an FPSO have been attributed at least in part to international energy sanctions, which are now being relaxed.

Pedco has previously said an FPSO is essential for the South Pars Oil Layer project which taps reserves below the super-giant South Pars gas field.

Several wells have been drilled at the site over the years but there has been no production.

Initial output is projected at 35,000 barrels per day, rising to 54,000 bpd, with first oil expected by April or May this year, according to Qasemi.

The reservoir is shared with Qatar, with the Qataris producing up to 400,000 bpd from what they call the Al Shaheen field.

Denmark’s Maersk Oil & Gas was until recently the operator at Al Shaheen before it was replaced by France’s Total.

The Iranian project — which has been in the works for more than a decade, spurred on by fears of losing reserves through migration to Qatar — will have cost about $1 billion by the time it is completed this year.

Pars Oil & Gas Company carried out fresh drilling in 2013 after a hiatus of several years, securing a jack-up to complete well workover and completion operations.

An Iranian-built jacket installed in the previous decade was to have been topped four years ago with a deck, also built locally.

The South Pars oilfield has reserves of 6 billion barrels but the reservoir is very complex.

The project was until last year being driven mostly by POGC and Pedec, rather than Pedco, the original developer.

Pedco’s operations were curtailed after an abortive privatisation effort in 2008 but the state company now appears to be back in business.