DUBAI - Iran plans to increase gas production at South Pars, the world's largest gas field, to a record 630 million cubic metres per day by mid-March from 580 million cubic metres now, the Iranian oil ministry's news website SHANA reported on Saturday.
"Iran currently extracts 580 million cubic metres a day from South Pars. With the realisation of expansion plans, this figure will increase to a new record of 630 million by the end of the (Iranian) year (March 20)," SHANA quoted Mohammad Meshkinfam, managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company, as saying.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last March that gas production at South Pars, which Iran shares with Qatar, had nearly doubled to 555 million cubic metres in the previous Iranian calendar year.
Iran's gas production at South Pars has struggled to keep up with rising domestic demand while renewed U.S. sanctions on Tehran's petroleum industry have scared away foreign investors and crimped exports.
Chinese state oil executives told Reuters this week that China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) had suspended investment in Iran's South Pars natural gas project in response to U.S. pressure and to minimise tensions amid trade talks between Beijing and Washington.
Iran said on Nov. 25 that CNPC had replaced Total as the operator of the Phase 11 project at South Pars after the French company ended its participation rather than violate the sanctions.
President Donald Trump reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran earlier this year after pulling out of world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom Editing by Ros Russell) ((firstname.lastname@example.org;))