Since 1997, the Iranian Petroleum Ministry has taken necessary measures to make good on natural reduction in the output of its oil fields to an extent that the country's crude production capacity would have fallen sharply if such measures had not been taken on time given that most of oil fields are in the second half of their life span.
Eskandar Bavarian, advisor to the managing director and deputy planning manager of the National Iranian Oil Company, in an interview with Petorenergy Information Network (PIN) said the rate of such natural reduction in output stands at eight percent for onshore fields and 10 percent for offshore fields. But the measures adopted by the Petroleum Ministry have not only compensated for such natural reduction in production but on the contrary have boosted the country's production capacity by 300,000 barrels per day.
Eskandar Bavarian believes that maintenance of production ability, modification of wells, drilling of development wells and development of oil fields are among the factors that have served to make good on the natural reduction in the output of oil fields in recent years. Terming the fall in the output of Iranian oil fields as something natural, he said more measures have been taken compared to the past to make good on such a reduction.
The increase in the output of oil fields which has partly compensated the fall in the pressure of oil fields is the result of buy-back projects implemented for development of the offshore oil fields. He believes that Salman, Sorush, Norouz, Sirri E, Sirri A, Doroud and Abuzar are among the fields whose pressure fall has been compensated to a large extent.
INJECTION OF 25 MILLION CUBIC METERS OF GAS, PRODUCTION OF 150,000 BARRELS OF OIL
With the injection of 80 million cubic meters of gas from phases 6, 7 and 8 of South Pars gas field per day, 423,000 barrels will be added to the country's daily production capacity. The statistics released on gas injection into oil fields indicate that if 25 million cubic meters of gas are injected into oil fields, an additional 150,00 barrels of oil will be produced on average.
SOUTH PARS GAS AND INCREASE IN PRODUCTION
Based on this report, since gas injection is considered as one of the best methods for increasing output of oil fields in Iran and given that the majority of Iranian oil fields are in the second half of their life span and thus are facing a sharp fall in their output, a lot of gas injection projects are now being implemented in the country the most important of which is the injection of gas from phases 6, 7 and 8 of South Pars development project into Aghajari oil field.
In order to boost oil production, one can employ various methods of gas injection into oil fields. In general, if a one percent increase takes place in production from oil fields, an additional five billion barrels of oil will be obtained. At present a buy-back project is being implemented to increase outputs of four oil fields of Doroud, Balal, Sorush and Norouz.
CURRENT PRIORITY OF GAS INJECTION
Under the present conditions and dire needs of oil wells and oil fields, we had better pay more attention to the gas injection into the oil reservoirs than to the export of gas. Of course, this does not mean that gas must have only one application, rather all sectors should be provided with gas. Since Iran's dependence on oil revenues is such that any fluctuations in the prices of oil will have serious impact on most economic plans of the country, protection of oil resources can be done through injection of gas. This is an important necessity which should be on top of the agenda of President Ahmadinejad's government.
A precise computation by experts on oil reservoirs shows that the injection of one billion cubic feet per day in a period of next 25 years will add four billion barrels of oil to the country's oil reserves, besides earning the country 200 billion dollars on the basis of selling oil at 50 dollars per barrel. Moreover, the injected gas will remain intact for next generations. This is while, the income of gas exports to India for instance in the next 25 years has been put at 22 billion dollars. Although marketing of gas is of special importance, the long term economic interests of the country requires officials in charge not to ignore gas injection into oil fields with an aim of protecting national oil reserves.
GAS INJECTION AND ITS ADVANTAGES
Kamal Daneshyar, a member of the Energy Commission of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament) is of the belief that instead of exporting gas, if we inject gas into oil fields, it will bring many benefits for the country. The first benefit is that the gas will be stored inside the country. In other words, gas will not be replenished and can be sold in the future. The second benefit is the injected gas can bring up the oil existing at the bottom of wells, something that can increase our profit making 10 to 20 folds. The third point is that we will be able to sell our gas at higher prices at a time when the world runs out of its oil reserves. The fourth benefit is that when we extract gas form gas fields, it is accompanied by gas condensates which are very expensive and whose incomes can be used for drilling new wells or other affairs. He also believes that there is no surplus gas in the country for export. At present, over 2.5 times the current level of gas production should be used for injection into oil fields. Besides, petrochemical industries and power plants need gas and at present gas accounts for 90 percent of electricity generated inside the country.