TEHRAN (PEDEC) – West Karoun is now known to Iranians. This border area is expected to form Iran’s oil civilization. According to plans, Iran intends to increase output from the 11 oil fields located in West Karoun by 1 mb/d within four years. The Darquain field will have a 200,000 b/d share in the above figure. Darquain which lies in Khuzestan Province is 45 kilometers north of the city of Khorramshahr and 100 kilometers south of the oil-rich city of Ahvaz. The field is expected to see its output exceed 220,000 b/d once phase 3 development is fulfilled.
Darquain is one of the 49 oil fields introduced for investment under the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) model.
Darquain which was discovered in 1964 following drilling one exploration well, holds over 5 billion barrels of oil in place, 1.3 billion barrels of which is recoverable. Darquain’s oil is light with an API gravity of 39. The oil produced at this field is delivered to the Ahvaz-Abadan oil pipeline.
According to estimates, the investment required for the development of Darquain-3 amounts to $1.5 billion. Darquain-3 envisages operating the Ilam and Sarvak reservoirs, as well as the untaped part of Fahlyan. To that end, water and gas would be injected into the Sarvak reservoir and gas into the Fahlyan reservoir.
Furthermore, 31 oil well, 6 gas injection wells, crude oil processing facilities including line pipes, processing installations, gas compressors, infrastructure including crude oil storage tanks and roads are among other activities under way at Darquain-3.
Darquain-1 and Darquain-2 were developed by Italy’s Eni under buyback deals. A state-of-the-art technology – simultaneous oil and associated gas injection – is being used there.
In August 2011, an agreement was signed with an Iranian consortium for the Darquain-3 development after Eni quit cooperating with Iran due to international sanctions. But the Iranian consortium failed to handle the project and the project remains open to international investment.
In phases 1 and 2, oil was recovered from Fahlyan formation. In phase 3, oil recovery from the Ilam and Sarvak layers will be done as well.
Darquain-1 came online in 2005. Darquain-2 required $1.3 billion in investment and demining 7.5 million square meters. Darquain-2 came online in February 2011.
Darquain-3 was expected to become operational within five years. Three years have since passed and the field is still far from startup. According to plans, in the first stage, 14,000 b/d of light crude and in the second stage, 46,000 b/d of heavy crude will be extracted from the Ilam and Sarvak layers.
Darquain-3 targets the heavy crude layers of Ilam and Sarvak and the undeveloped part of Fahlyan. Eni completed feasibility studies on this project and submitted its results.
The findings of Eni studies indicate that the heavy crude in the Ilam and Sarvak layers were recoverable. Due to the heavy crude oil content, the third phase is totally different from the first and second phases.
Therefore, with a view to developing Darquain-3, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) held talks with foreign companies for partnership after Iran’s nuclear deal with six world powers came into effect in 2016.
$135bn Investment Needed
Development of joint oil and gas fields in Iran has slowed down in recent years due to financial and technical shortages. That had earned Iran’s neighbors big margins. Due to the financial and technical restrictions, Iran has concentrated on the development of the South Pars gas field, shared with Qatar, and West Karoun oil fields, shared mainly with Iraq.
Iran and Iraq currently share Dehloran, Naftshahr, West Paydar, Azar, Azadegan, Yadavaran, Aban and Arvand. However, in neighboring Iraq, they are known under different names.
Due to unequal recovery from this field and the possibility of migration, NIOC is currently concentrating on the development of joint oil fields.
Courtesy of Iran Petroleum