July 20 (UPI) -- Iranian contractors are working to offset production declines with new pumping technology at an oil field straddling the border with Iraq, state media reported.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Friday that local contractors were installing electric submersible pumps at the North Yaran oil field, called South Yaran on the Iraqi side of the border. IRNA stated the ESPs could help offset declines in production from North Yaran.
Oilfield services company Schlumberger notes that ESPs far surpass the operational performance of other technologies. More than 90 percent of all oil wells in production require some form of artificial means to bring products to the surface.
The Iranian government estimates its side of the field could produce at around 60,000 barrels of oil per day. IRNA reported the electric pumps would be installed at about half of the 20 or so wells scheduled at the field.
The internal action could be important given the snap-back of U.S. sanctions related to the Iranian oil sector. U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to leave the U.N.-backed nuclear agreement means Iran faces a steady pace of increasing sanctions pressure through November, with actions against its oil exports go into force.
Some European companies have left the Iranian energy sector because of sanctions pressures and its oil buyers are weighing their options ahead of November.
Iran is the third-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Secondary sources reported to OPEC economists said Iranian oil production averaged 3.8 million barrels per day in June, down by about a half percent from the previous month.