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Lukoil hopes it will begin the development of two oil fields in Iran later this year, after the conclusion of negotiations currently held with the National Iranian Oil Company. This is what Lukoil vice president and chief of Middle Eastern operations Gati al-Jebouri told media yesterday.
Currently, Lukoil and NIOC are discussing the cost structure of the two projects, and the Russian company hopes that the Iranian side will reach a decision by the end of June, although no firm deadlines have been set, Al-Jebouri also said.
Earlier this month, Lukoil was named in a list of 29 foreign companies approved by NIOC for participation in oil and gas field tenders, to take place later this year. The Russian company has not concealed its eagerness to return to Iran: as soon as the Western sanctions on Tehran were lifted, Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov went to Iran to meet with Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, who announced to the press that Lukoil was the first foreign oil firm to sign a memorandum of understanding. Before the sanctions, Lukoil operated the Anaran oil field in Iran.
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According to a recent report by Iran’s Financial Tribune, Russian companies have so far signed preliminary agreements for the development of seven oil and gas deposits in the country. These companies – except Lukoil and Gazprom, who were included in the 29-company list – will be included in a second list of approved foreign oil and gas players. Names include Rosneft, Zarubezhneft, and Tatneft.
All the approved bidders will be offered the International Petroleum Contract – a new form of contract developed by Bijan Zanganeh’s ministry in a bid to facilitate the return of foreign oil companies into Iran and quench their concerns about making a profit from their potential operations there. The main difference with the old buyback scheme is that foreign companies will be allowed to book Iranian reserves and acquire interests in local energy businesses.
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.