TEHRAN - Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) has announced it had achieved first oil from the Asmari reservoir of Abuzar oilfield, which is located southwest of the Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf.
Despite having significant domestic expertise in geology and petroleum engineering, Iran has traditionally needed access to modern equipment and technology to develop its reservoirs, but the offshore operation of the first Asmari well in Abuzar field in the Persian Gulf means Iran has begun to turn a corner, the Ministry of Petroleum’s Shana news outlet reported.
“Following months of planning for additional appraisal and possibility of production from the upper Asmari layer of Abuzar field, the first well was spudded and oil production from the reservoir was realized for the first time in the history of the field’s development,” The Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) announced.
“It is predicted that with the preliminary development of the reservoir and drilling of five to eight wells, the production of 6,000-10,000 barrels per day of oil from the reservoir will be possible,” IOOC’s Javad Rostami said.
The development of the Asmari layer ushers in a new phase in hydrocarbon prospecting and operation of reservoirs in Iran, where some of the fields have been in production for 50 years or more.
The older fields are heavily depleted, and require expensive and complex technology to coax more oil from them, but rolling sanctions imposed by the U.S. have made it all but impossible.
The sanctions, however, have been a boon to domestic manufacturers who have thrived under the new situation through mobilizing their resources to fulfill some of the tasks which were an exclusive competence of foreign companies.
They have spawned an inward-looking drive in Iran, especially in its oil industry which has gone out of its way to put unprecedented trust in local companies for implementation of some major projects.
Iran’s oil and gas resources are some of the largest and exceptionally most attractive from an economic point of view in the world. They are trapped in large, conventional reservoirs with excellent geological properties that make them highly productive at a low cost.
Most of Iran’s oil and gas fields lie in a belt running along its maritime boundary in the Persian Gulf and the foothills of the Zagros Mountains – an extensive folded zone which is geologically the result of the Arabian plate’s collision with the central Iranian plateau.
The collision has trapped thick layers of ancient limestone and sandstone and turned them into some of the world’s biggest oil and gas accumulations.
The Zagros basin covers more than 550,000 square kilometers, stretching from Turkey and Syria through the Iraqi Kurdistan into Iran where its sediments are ideally up to 12,000 meters thick.
The sediments have formed various layers, including oil and gas, the most important of which is the Asmari limestone formation in Iran.
Despite being impermeable and non-porous, Asmari is heavily fractured which makes it an ideal gusher for oil and gas production.
Through its natural fracture system, a single well can drain a vast area and produce up to 80,000 barrels per day of oil for a sustainable period of time.
Iranian oil wells hold the world record for the highest production average of 10,000 bpd, according to Reuters which is named after Paul Julius Reuter, a Brit who received the first concession to explore for oil in Iran in 1872.