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The tender for the development of Iran’s Azadegan oil field has been delayed by several months, according to Ali Kardor, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company, who spoke to news agency ISNA, as quoted by Reuters. Already there are three foreign companies interested in developing the country’s biggest oil field, including Japan’s Inpex, France’s Total, and Malaysian state oil and gas major Petronas.
The Azadegan field, which Iran shares with Iraq, has reserves of 37 billion barrels of crude. According to Kandor, the tender will have to wait until the new Iranian government is formed—which will happen in August—as the current, outgoing cabinet has not signed any memoranda of understanding with the interested parties and “they need three to four months to study the field.”
This is the latest in a series of delays in the tender for Azadegan, Reuters notes. It is the first tender for an oil field to be launched after the lifting of Western sanctions in 2015.
Before the sanctions, Azadegan was operated by Inpex, but the Japanese company left Iran in 2010 when economic sanctions against Tehran’s nuclear program were tightened. At the end of May, when Inpex said it was interested in taking part in bidding for the development of the field, NIOC’s managing director said that the tender would take place at the beginning of June. The company sent invitations to 29 international oil companies – most likely the same ones that Tehran shortlisted as eligible for oil and gas bidding in early 2017.
Iran is OPEC’s third-biggest oil producer, pumping around 3.8 million bpd to date, as per its agreement with OPEC and its partners in the production cut agreement. However, by 2021, the country will seek to increase its daily crude output to 4.7 million bpd, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told Iranian media near the end of May.
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.