Iran Targets Oil Boost of 1 Million Barrels a Day, Zanganeh Says

From Bloomberg

By Golnar Motevali and Anthony Dipaola

Iran, hampered by sanctions over its nuclear program, plans within four years to boost crude-output capacity by 1 million barrels a day at fields it shares with neighboring states, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said.

“This will be the biggest achievement in the history of the oil industry in Iran,” he said today at the opening of an energy conference in Tehran.

The fourth-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is also pressing ahead with work at South Pars, part of a gas deposit straddling the border with Qatar, Zanganeh said. Iran expects to complete several of the project’s 17 phases in about three years, he said.

The government is trying to attract foreign investment in crude, natural gas and chemicals production even as it seeks the removal of U.S. and European sanctions. The U.S. and allied states say Iran is working to develop atomic-weapons technology, a claim the government denies. An interim nuclear accord between the two sides expires July 20.

An increase in oil-production capacity on the scale Zanganeh described would boost Iran’s output by as much as 35 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The country pumped 2.84 million barrels a day in April, the data show.

European companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Repsol SA previously had contracts to develop areas of the South Pars gas field. Their contracts expired in the last decade after sanctions blocked the companies from operating there.

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