Yadavaran oil field is the only joint field in Iran, where Iran is outperforming Iraq with which it shares the field. More than a year after the first phase of this field came online; Iran is recovering 110 tb/d of oil from Yadavaran, which is expected to reach 115 tb/d in March.
Hadi Nazarpour, manager of Yadavaran oil field development at the Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC), said: “Buyback-style repayments to Sinopec of China are to start soon.”
The West Karoun oil area, where Yadavaran is situated, is one of the oil richest areas in Iran. It is divided into Azadegan (North Azadegan, South Azadegan, North Yaran and South Yaran) and Yadavaran (Kushk and Hosseinieh). The West Karoun area holds 67 billion barrels of oil in place.
Under the 11th and the 12th administrations, these fields have been a top priority for the Ministry of Petroleum. Recovery from these oil fields increased from 161 tb/d in January 2017 to 305 tb/d in January 2018.
Yadavaran oil field is one of the largest fields in the West Karoun area in terms of reserves in place. It was discovered in 2004 by the then minister of petroleum, Bijan Zangeneh, who is also minister now.
The first phase of this field became operational in November 2016 by President Hassan Rouhani.
“In the preliminary studies, the field is estimated to hold 12 billion barrels of oil in place. After the drilling of three appraisal wells in 2014, the findings of studies showed that the oil field holds 34 billion barrels of oil in place,” Nazarpour told Iran Petroleum.
Yadavaran comprises Fahlyan layer with an API gravity of 38 to 40 and Sarvak with an API gravity of 22. Two-thirds of Yadavaran’s oil deposits are heavy crude oil.
Nazarpour said: “The quality of light crude oil of Yadavaran is very good and no lifting is required for recovery.”
“According to studies conducted on the field, 10 billion barrels of oil in place in Yadavaran is light crude oil and 24 billion barrels of heavy crude oil,” he added.
Phase Yadavaran Development
The development project of Yadavaran oil field was awarded to Sinopec under a buyback deal in 2008. It was planned to be developed in three phases.
The field was planned to produce 85 tb/d in the first phase, 180 tb/d in the second phase and 300 tb/d in the third phase. Studies conducted in the field indicated that the primary recovery rate in Sarvak (heavy crude oil) layer was 6% and in Fahlyan (light crude) 14%.
Early production from this field was initially planned to begin in August 2009 and Phase 1 was expected to come online in July 2013.
“In Phase 1, 55 wells were drilled, 49 of which were production wells, three were injection wells and three others were appraisal wells,” said Nazarpour.
Early Production Makes Up for Delays
Nazarpour said development of Yadavaran had faced delays due to international sanctions. Touching on early production by PEDEC, he said: “By adopting this plan, production started without waiting for Phase 1, and everything was proceeded in parallel.”
Yadavaran came officially on-stream in February 2012, while five months later its output was 20 tb/d. In May 2014, the Yadavaran output reached 55 tb/d.
Nazarpour said production from Yadavaran reached 85 tb/d in April.
“The early production helped us make up for 67% of our delay in launching Phase 1,” he added.
After taking office in 2013, the Rouhani administration focused its attention on quick recovery from joint oil and gas fields.
Nazarpour gave an acceptable assessment of the Chinese contractor’s performance in the project, saying the field’s output currently stood at 110 tb/d which would soar to 115 tb/d by March.
He said that accumulated production from Yadavaran stood at 111 million barrels, which had earned Iran nearly $7 billion.
Sinopec Tests Endorsed
Sinopec has conducted 21/28 tests which have been endorsed by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). Now the Chinese contractor will be repaid and remunerated.
“The tests conducted by Sinopec were successful. A punches which directly affect the production standard and quality have been carried out and B punches which are less important than the A punches are under way,” Nazarpour said.
He also said that Iranian companies involved in the project were faring well, adding that Iranian companies were responsible for 51.3% of domestic manufacturing of equipment needed in this project.
Comparing Iranian and Chinese manufacturers, he said: “Iranian vendors were much stronger than Chinese vendors.”
Nazarpour said that 85% of manpower engaged in the management of Yadavaran project were Iranian and the remaining 15% Chinese.
Talks Go On for Phase II
After the inauguration of Phase 1 of Yadavaran field, the comprehensive plan for the development of Phase II of this project was endorsed by the NIOC.
“Given the approval of this study project and the finalization of production of 180 tb/d in this phase, even if the Phase II production is set to increase to 200 tb/d the required infrastructure is already prepared and there is nothing to worry about,” said Nazarpour.
He said: “Currently negotiations are under way with Sinopec for the second phase of Yadavaran field development.”
Noting that Yadavaran, like other oil fields, required application of EOR advanced technologies, Nazarpour said: “Negotiations for enhanced recovery are pursued within the framework of the new model of oil contracts.”
He said that Royal Dutch Shell had earlier studied Yadavaran, adding: “For enhanced recovery, Shell had suggested water and gas injection and announced that it could boost the recovery rate of the field.”
“In case the oil recovery rate of Yadavaran is increased by 1%, nearly $20 billion in revenue would be generated with barrel at $60 a barrel,” said Nazarpour.
Money Needed for Development
Nazarpour said that Iranian contractors would be able to develop the West Karoun oil fields in case they have sufficient financial resources “because oil recovery from West Karoun is not complicated.”
“However, when it comes to EOR Iranians are not experienced enough and we need to use new technologies in this sector and naturally we have to handle it in partnership with foreign companies,” he said.