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The Iranian Petroleum Contract designed to bring in more foreign investors to get the country’s energy industry back on its feet is still being reviewed by Iran’s security council. This means that the 29 foreign oil and gas companies that Iran shortlisted as preferred bidders for hydrocarbon deposits back in January will have to wait a while longer before they start operations in the country.
The IPC was drafted by the Oil Ministry of Bijan Zanganeh – an ally of reformist president Hassan Rouhani – and offers foreign oil and gas explorers more flexible terms than the traditional buyback contract that pushed a lot of big energy companies away. Now that most of the economic sanctions against Tehran are no longer in force, energy firms are interested in going back to Iran, but only if better conditions are offered.
These conditions, as per the IPCs, include the right to book reserves in Iran and the possibility of buying stakes in Iranian oil companies. These changes have angered the conservatives in parliament and elsewhere, prompting a series of delays as the contract was revised again and again.
Tehran has already struck deals with Lukoil, Total, CNPC and Sinopec, and Petronas for the development of oil and gas fields. Total is working on the huge offshore South Pars field; Petronas is drilling for oil at South Azadegan and Sheshmeh Hosh; and CNPC and Sinopec are developing Yadavaran and North Azadegan.
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As of February, Iran was pumping 3.8 million barrels of crude per day – the highest for the last seven years, according to the Energy Information Administration. Of this, it exported a daily average of 2.5 million barrels – with one daily record of 3 million bpd – but now the country will be reducing this to 2.4 million bpd, as the crude oil it had in floating storage sold out.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.