Historic week in oil and gas exploration. With the tiny Central American nation of Belize kicking off its first-ever offshore evaluation work this past Thursday.
That area could yield some interesting results, given its proximity to known oil and gas fields in the offshore of Mexico. But one other petro-locale in the news this week absolutely dwarfs this play in terms of upside.
The emerging investment destination of Iran.
I’ve been writing for some time now about the saga around Iran’s first open oil and gas tender in years. With the most recent development being that lawmakers in country finally agreed in late September on a new model for petroleum contracts to be given to international operators.
With that critical detail resolved, Iran’s government announced this week it has now officially launched its historic bid round.
Here’s what we know so far.
On Sunday, Iran’s Oil Ministry officially invited international E&Ps to start pre-qualifying for bidding. And by Thursday officials said they are negotiating with 16 international oil and gas firms.
That’s a lot of interest, coming together very quickly. And another announcement this week from Iran’s government makes it clear why this bid round is turning into such a major event. Related: Oil Titans Differ On Whether Prices Will Spike Or Remain Low
Up until now, the view had been vague on exactly what fields might be offered as part of this licensing round. Officials had mentioned that the South Azadegan field would likely be the first project to be tendered out — given this field is a priority in terms of size (with output projected at up to 600,000 barrels per day).
But Iran’s government this week clarified that Azadegan won’t be the only field on offer. In fact, the Oil Ministry said that a full 50 projects will be available for bids — consisting of 29 oil fields, and 21 natural gas fields.
That’s a huge slate of projects to choose from, in one of the most high-upside spots on Earth (Iranian officials also said this week many of the offered projects are economic at $40 oil). Watch for the identities of the 16 pre-qualified firms to be released, and for final results of the bid — with submissions required by November 19, and final awards expected on December 7.
Here’s to opening the vault.
By Dave Forest
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