TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran said it began producing more natural gas from a giant field shared with Qatar on Tuesday as part of efforts to expand gas production and alleviate setbacks caused by international sanctions.
The additional production from the South Pars field — known as North Dome in Qatar — will add 81 million cubic meters of gas to Iran's total production, currently at about 600 million cubic meters per day, most of which is consumed domestically, the state TV reported.
During a ceremony marking inauguration of the expansion project, President Hassan Rouhani claimed the increased gas production proved Western sanctions, imposed over Iran's s disputed nuclear program, were ineffective.
"We succeeded in finalizing huge projects during the sanctions," said Rouhani. "By inaugurating this project, we announce to the world that the era of pressures ... is over."
The expanded production at South Pars will also yield some 120 thousand barrels of liquid gas and 750 metric tons (827 tons) of sulfur per day. Tehran invested more than $ 7 billion in the phase. The project includes three offshore platforms, containing 36 wells.
After his election in 2013, Rouhani pledged his administration would increase production from South Pars, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of the capital, Tehran.
According to Iranian media, Qatar currently produces 40 percent more natural gas from the joint field. Qatar began production from its share of the field in 1989, while Iran only began working on its side in 1998. Now, Iran produces some 425 million cubic meters from the field.
Iran plans to increase its gas production to one billion cubic meters per day by 2018. The country has the world's second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia.