Iran: IRGC takes over South Pars oil and gas region on Ahmadinejad's orders
NCRI – The CEO of Pars oil and gas company, Ali Vakili, has announced the signing of an agreement with Khatam al-Anbia Company to develop phases 22 to 24 of the South Pars region. Khatam al-Anbia is a vast economic powerhouse controlled by the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC/Pasdaran).
Vakili added that phases 13 and 14 will also be awarded to a consortium which includes Khatam and a number of other domestic entities.
The IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbia currently controls phases 15 and 16 of South Pars, which is considered to be worth up to about 2.1 billion dollars, as well as the construction of the 900-km pipeline to transfer natural gas from Asalouyeh gas field to Iranshahr. The latter project is worth about 1.3 billion dollars.
The IRGC and its affiliated companies are planning to replace foreign companies in South Pars. Increasing sanctions against the regime over the nuclear dossier have led to an exodus of companies like Shell, Total, Eni, Stat Oil, Sinopec, and Luc Oil from the region. Suspension of drilling and extraction projects have led to the unemployment of tens of thousands of workers in Asalouyeh in southern Iran.
The take over of South Pars projects by the IRGC comes on the orders of the mullahs’ President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But, experts and analysts have noted that the technical and scientific expertise of the IRGC is inadequate for developing the South Pars region. Economic observers believe that the decision is primarily motivated by propaganda needs, since the IRGC has insufficient technical knowhow and financial sanctions would prevent acquisition of the required tools and equipment for these projects.
In view of Iran’s crippled industries, experts add that the aim of the regime from these announcements and propaganda is to defy talks about sanctions at the international level while cementing the IRGC’s political and economic domination domestically.