0625 GMT April 09, 2020
“A rig is a mobile plant that can be moved from one place to another. The cost of building many factories is less than the cost of building a rig, and building an oil rig is very important,” Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, reported Press TV.
The structure, named 72 Fat’h (Conquer), was unveiled in a ceremony in Ahvaz in southwest Iran.
“Given the country's capacities, we need drilling equipment and accessories for many years to come, and the construction of a rig in Iran was one of the aspirations of the oil industry which has been realized today,” the minister said.
The achievement is another silver lining in the dark clouds of sanctions which the US government has imposed on Iran to cripple the country for not submitting to Washington’s steep demands.
Zanganeh said Iran’s oil and gas sectors are on the frontline of the fight against the United States’ “maximum pressure” which US President Donald Trump has primarily applied on the oil industry because it accounts for a big chunk of Iran’s hard currency earnings.
Sanctions made it difficult for Tehran to rent oil drilling rigs, forcing the Oil Ministry to approach intermediaries. In 2011, the ministry spent $87 million to buy an oil drilling rig, but it never reached the country’s shores, in what came to be known as “the case of the missing rig”.
However, the coercive measures have buoyed domestic entities which before the sanctions were a dark horse for lucrative contracts as major international companies always won them.
Iran’s oil industry has been looking inward since the sanctions came into effect in November 2018, going out of its way to put unprecedented trust in local companies for the implementation of some major projects.
As an example, a multibillion-dollar deal to develop Phase 11 of supergiant South Pars Gas Field was awarded to Iran’s Petropars after French oil major Total and the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) withdrew from the project.
Iran’s biggest refinery for processing gas associated with oil production, built by local companies, is currently being geared up for launch within the next month or so, a senior energy official said.
“It is our duty to create work for domestic factories,” Zanganeh said, sounding out the government’s support for technology-based entities and startups.
“Manufacturing rigs is not just for Iran. Once we are able to build the rig to international standards, we will be able to export it and its related services and we should take advantage of these opportunities,” Zanganeh said.
“We are currently under sanctions, but the problem will pass with the prudence of the establishment and people’s resistance,” he said, adding that Iran has to make the best of opportunities which the sanctions present it.
Largest gas refinery to come online
Managing Director of the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company Jafar Rabiei said the Persian Gulf Bid Boland Gas Refinery, being touted as Iran’s largest gas processing plant, will be up and running before the end of the current Iranian year on March 19.
The refinery has reached 97 percent of physical progress and is about to be injected with gas feedstock by the end of the current year, he said.
Zanganeh said this month the Persian Gulf Bid Boland Gas Refinery in Behbahan is expected to be “the source of a major change in reducing environmental pollution and developing the petrochemical industry”.
The plant has a capacity to process 56 million cubic meters a day of associated gas, enough to produce 3.5 million tons of feedstock for use in petrochemical plants in Khuzestan Province.