Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh underlined that his ministry is determined to support the country's companies in a bid to make use of the huge capacities of domestic general contractors in the energy sector. "As I have said several times, the Iranian general contractors should be empowered because without them it is impossible to make use of the huge domestic capacities," Zanganeh said. He noted that the general contracting companies are fully knowledged-based and are not affected by the western sanctions. Zanganeh further mentioned that his ministry has envisaged a number of projects for private sector investors, "including, construction of 8 refineries with capacity of 60,000 barrels of gas condensates". Zanganeh reiterated that his ministry would help the private sector with their projects. On Monday, a former senior oil official said the Iranian contractors who have taken the responsibility for developing the giant South Pars gas field have proved better than their giant foreign rivals, including France's Total and Royal Dutch Shell. "The (Iranian contractors') progress in the development of the new South Pars phases is surprising compared to the performance of the giant foreign oil firms," the official, who asked to remain unnamed, told FNA. "Given the achievement of such progress by Iranian contractors and the manufacture of products and equipment by Iranian industrialists, waiting for (French oil and gas company) Total and (Royal Dutch) Shell is no way helpful to the country," he added. The South Pars gas field, divided into 28 phases, is located in the Persian Gulf on the common border between Iran and Qatar. The field is estimated to hold 14 trillion cubic meters of gas as well as 18 billion barrels of condensates. The field covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which lie in Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The remaining 6,000 square kilometers, better known as the North Dome, are located in Qatar's territorial waters. Earlier this week, Zanganeh underlined his ministry's determination to develop the remaining phases of the giant South Pars oil and gas filed, and said that the foreign companies can practice limited partnership in the development of the project. "The foreign companies applying for partnership in Iran's South Pars projects will be used in only the two remaining phases and they will play no role in the country's under construction phases," Zanganeh told reporters. Last week, China National Petroleum Corporation International (CNPCI) was expelled from Iran after it failed to comply with its undertakings for raising the production of Azadegan gas field. A decree expelling the CNPCI came into force last Tuesday evening by Zanganeh after the firm was repeatedly warned to face a prospect of expropriation for procrastination in meeting its promises in the South Azadegan gas field which Iran shares with Iraq.