Development of jointly owned oil fields in the West Karoun area in western Iran remains a priority for the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum.
Iran is currently recovering more than 350,000 b/d of oil from these fields, which is expected to reach 1.2 mb/d in coming years. A major requirement for reaching such production levels would be to have a secure and sustainable power network.
Due to power shortages in southern Iran, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) decided to build an independent power plant, as well as its utilities in West Karoun with a rated capacity of 500MW. That would help generate enough electricity for oil fields there.
Mehdi Najjarian, manager of the West Karoun power plant development project said that the first gas-fueled unit of the power plant would come online soon.
In the following you can read the interview with Mr. Najjarian :
Why was this power plant decided to be built?
The West Karoun area oil fields are currently producing more than 350,000 b/d of oil, which would increase to 1.2 mb/d in the future. Producing at such level would require a sustainable power distribution network. The construction of power plant in West Karoun, decided by NIOC, is expected to supply power to the Azadegan, Yaran and Yadavaran oil fields, NGL 3200 project, LPG plant and the West Karoun pumping station. Since NIOC had no experience of building high-voltage power plants, the project was awarded to experienced MAPNA under a 20-year BOO agreement worth €350 million.
How many units does the power plant have and how much electricity is it expected to generate?
The West Karoun power plant is a combined cycle power plant with a 500MW capacity. MAPNA (the contractor) is financing this power plant. NIOC will supply gas feedstock, at a rate of 110,000 cubic meters a day of sweet gas, to MAPNA in return for electricity. The power plant has two gas-fueled units and a steam-fueled unit. One gas-fueled unit is becoming operational soon. The second gas-fueled unit and the steam-fueled unit would come online in 2019. The two gas-fueled units are currently 84% complete, while the steam-fueled unit has had 15% progress.
How much is the power plant’s output?
Based on our agreement with MAPNA, the power plant’s output is envisaged at 48%. But in light of Minister of Petroleum [Bijan] Zangeneh’s insistence on boosting the power plant’s output, MAPNA has decided to modify its power plant systems in the hope of raising the output to 52%.
Why did NIOC decide to set up an independent power plant in West Karoun?
As you know the West Karoun power plant is located near Ahvaz and the oil fields in West Karoun need high loads. Before we decided to build a power plant there, we wondered if the Ahvaz Power Distribution Co. had the ability to supply 500MW of electricity to the oil fields. They said they couldn’t afford it due to power shortages there. Therefore, we decided to build our own power plant independently in order to supply secure and sustainable electricity to our projects and facilities.
What is the outstanding feature of this power plant?
Secure and sustainable power generation for the West Karoun oil fields; since the North Azadegan and Yadavaran oil fields are currently using diesel fuel to generate electricity. As soon as the gas-fueled unit comes online, the diesel unit will stop working. Once electricity transmission lines come on-stream we will be able to supply power to the North Yaran oil field and the West Karoun pumping station.
How many power distribution posts will be available?
We have 150 kilometers of 230KV power transmission lines and 6 posts. The transmission lines are 70% complete, while the post is 90% ready.
Have all the three turbines been manufactured by MAPNA? Has any foreign party been consulted?
Two gas turbines have been manufactured by the company. The steam turbine had to be modified because of NIOC insistence on higher output, which is expected to be developed for the first time in Iran. Therefore, in collaboration with an Italian company, MAPNA decided to manufacture this turbine. The technology used in steam turbines is incorporated in their rotors which are delicate. We hope that this technology would be transferred to Iran so that future steam turbines would be domestically built by MAPNA. The manufactured steam turbine is currently in the final phases of testing. It will become operational next year.
What percentage of the equipment used in the turbine is domestically manufactured?
To what extent do you trust the sustainability of the West Karoun power plant?
Given the fact that the West Karoun power plant is dual-fueled, in case power supply to one circuit is cut, the second circuit becomes active. In case both of them fail, Khuzestan Power Distribution Company has agreed to supply power to the fields.
Can Khuzestan Power Distribution Company meet all your power needs?
No! Khuzestan power network is facing shortages; therefore, we manage consumption and prioritize power distribution to the oil fields in order to keep oil production from any failure. Of course, based on our estimate of the West Karoun power plant output, we don’t worry about power shortages. We have even predicted that in case the development projects in the West Karoun oil fields come online, we may have talks with MAPNA for the second phase of development of the West Karoun power plant in order to add 500MW to the power plant’s capacity. Of course, the second phase development of this power plant is only in the phase of forecast and we have not yet drawn up any plans for a second phase.
In construction of the West Karoun power plant which sectors do we need foreign cooperation in?
Iran is among successful countries in terms of building power plants, and MAPNA has a brilliant record in this regard. But when it comes to controlling power plants and installing sophisticated relays we have not yet been able to transfer technology. In this sector, we need to cooperate with foreign companies. Currently, we are cooperating with three companies which own related technologies.