Iranian energy firms hardly survived sanctions

One of the major challenges Iranian energy companies were facing in the South Pars Gas Field was the international sanctions which had cut Iran’s access to hi-tech equipment and technology for years.

Although Iran is free now to use the technology offered by international energy giants thanks to the recent sanctions relief, critics say the development is too little too late, as Iran has already missed a big opportunity in the gas field.

The Pars Oil and Gas Company designed 24 phases for the development of the field, of which only one is yet to be awarded. The rest have been either complete or under construction.

Despite the external pressure, the Iranian contractors demonstrated a reasonable performance. Dana Energy, for instance, managed to drill 44 wells on four phases in the region – almost one eight of total wells drilled under the POGC’s initial plan, according to Vahid Daneshkhah, head of performance engineering in the Well Construction department of Dana Energy.

Critics, however, argue that neighboring country Qatar had an upper hand in the past couple of decades in contracting leading American and European energy companies to develop the South Pars, or as the Qataris call it the North Dome, field – the world's largest gas field shared between Iran and Qatar. As a result of its technological superiority, our neighbor managed to produce significant amounts of gas and condensate in the past years.

Daneshkhah agreed with the latter argument, adding that his company, like many other domestic energy firms, suffered from the lack of access to quality drilling technologies. “This eventually resulted in large amounts of non-productive time,” he noted.

The expert admitting that some opportunities have been missed as a result of crippling sanctions, but he urged the oil and gas authorities and the private sector to focus on the opportunities to be emerging in the post-sanctions era.

Interviewee:

Vahid Daneshkhah

Head of Performance Engineering

Well Construction