TEHRAN, April 9 (UPI) -- Iran aims to increase its natural gas production substantially by launching additional phases in the South Pars gas complex, an energy official said.
National Iranian Oil Co. Managing Director Ahmad Qalebani said Iranian gas production will increase by 5.2 billion cubic feet per day through the launch of phases 12-16 in the South Pars gas complex in the Persian Gulf, the oil ministry's news site, SHANA, reports.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said last weekend the three phases would come on stream by the end of the Persian year in March.
Iran estimates that South Pars contains as much as 8 percent of the global natural gas reserves. The play is expected to feed a natural gas pipeline to Pakistan.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met last month at the countries' border to mark the start of construction in Pakistan for the $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline from Iran.
The project has faced a series of delays since it was proposed in the 1990s. The United State has opposed the plan because of the potential financial benefit to Iran and its nuclear program.