On October 3, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Emir of Qatar, marked the beginning of the gas extraction expansion project in the South Pars field, a vast natural gas resource shared between Iran and Qatar.
This field, known as the South Pars shared field in Iran and North Dome in Qatar, was discovered in 1971 and remains the world’s largest known gas field. The gas reserves of this field account for 19% of the world’s total known gas reserves. The combined gas production of Iran and Qatar from this field accounts for over 9% of the world’s gas production.
In 2022, Qatar generated over $42 billion in revenue from South Pars. However, Iran, due to the detrimental policies of its ruling establishment, has struggled to exploit even a fifth of this gas field. As per a Bloomberg report, Qatar Energy, the world’s largest liquefied gas producer, is investing $29 billion to enhance the annual LNG production capacity from 77 million tons to 126 million tons by extracting more from South Pars by 2027.
The initial gas reserves of this field amount to 51 trillion cubic meters, with 14 trillion in Iranian waters and 37 trillion cubic meters in Qatari waters. About 70% of these reserves can be extracted due to pressure, which is three times the total gas reserves of the United States, currently the world’s largest gas producer. Additionally, this field holds 50 billion barrels of gas condensates (ultra-light oil).
Qatar began gas production from this shared field ten years before Iran did. Qatar has extracted over 2.8 trillion cubic meters of commercial gas, which is pure methane. On the other hand, the regime in Iran claims to have extracted 2 trillion cubic meters of raw gas from the South Pars field. However, due to the regime’s unreliable statements, it remains unclear how much of this gas is pure methane and how much is actually water and other heavy gases.
Qatar annually converts 114 billion cubic meters of the gas produced from this shared field into liquefied gas (LNG). They export about 20 billion cubic meters of it to international markets via pipelines to the Emirates and consume over 36 billion cubic meters themselves.
Iran, with the introduction of new phases in 2005, was extracting nearly as much from this shared field as Qatar was. This accounted for about a third of Iran’s domestic consumption and included exports of 18 billion cubic meters to Turkey and Iraq.
In 2005, Qatar temporarily halted the development of new phases in the shared South Pars gas field to assess potential gas pressure drops. This delay lasted about a decade. However, in 2017, they resumed development projects, signing contracts worth $29 billion with major global oil companies like Total from France, ExxonMobil from the United States, Shell from the UK and the Netherlands, and Eni from Italy. These contracts aimed to extract 65 billion cubic meters of gas and 450,000 barrels of gas condensates annually by 2026, aligning with Qatar’s initial plans.
Adding to this, a few months ago, Qatar sealed a $10 billion deal with Technip to establish two gas liquefaction plants, each with an annual capacity of 16 million tons, equivalent to 21 billion cubic meters, in Qatar.
However, in Iran, the South Pars reservoirs had a pressure of 120 atmospheres until last year. Official statistics from the regime’s Ministry of Petroleum indicate that this year, they entered the second half of their lifespan, with pressure decreasing by seven atmospheres each year. Consequently, production will decrease by 10 billion cubic meters annually.
Due to the regime’s spread of terrorism globally, human rights violations, efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, and missile programs, and being under international sanctions, Iran’s development and exploitation of this gas field have been halted and delayed.
Major oil companies like Total canceled their contracts with Tehran. Moreover, Iran lacks the necessary technology for this task, and its existing wells have reduced production due to gas pressure decline. Developing gas fields in the sea requires 20,000-ton platforms, 15 times larger than Iran’s current platforms, and demands massive compressors, which cannot be procured due to sanctions. The outcome is clear: Qatar is extracting and exploiting this gas field five times more than Iran.
Would a conventional government be in power, Iran, being the second-largest gas reserve holder globally after Russia, has the potential to not only meet its domestic gas needs adequately but could also become the world’s largest gas exporter under current global conditions.
But now, every winter, Iranians face gas shortages, resulting in heating challenges. Factories either shut down due to gas shortages, or power plants are forced to use mazut as an alternative fuel—a highly polluting substance that contaminates the air and leads to various health problems for the people. In a nutshell, for the people of Iran to breathe and live a prosperous life, there’s no way other than regime change.
Source » ncr-iran