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Iran has launched the tender for the development of the Azadegan oil field in the country’s southwest, and has already invited international oil companies to participate, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quoted Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh as saying on Monday.
Iran claims that the Azadegan oil field is its largest and holds 37 billion barrels of oil. The field will be one of the first fields for which Iran will hold international tenders, IRNA quoted Zangeneh as saying.
Back in 2014, Iran canceled a contract with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) to develop the Azadegan oil field after what Iran cited as delays in the development of the field. The Chinese company—which had agreed to develop Azadegan after Japanese and European majors pulled out from Iran deals over sanctions—was reportedly instructed in 2010 to slow or stop working in Iran, because China was aiming to boost energy relations with the U.S.
On Sunday, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) managing director Ali Kardor told state-run Press TV that the tender would be held before this coming Friday, with invitation letters to file proposals to be sent to 29 international oil companies, including Shell, Total, CNPC, Lukoil, Pertamina, and OMV.
Early this year, Iran issued a list of 29 companies that have qualified for bidding in oil and gas tenders.
Related: Is China Liberalizing Its Oil And Gas Industry At The Right Time?
The Islamic Republic hopes to sign its first oil deal based on the newly devised contract terms before the end of President Rouhani’s first term in office by July, Zangeneh said, as quoted by the oil ministry’s news service Shana.
NIOC has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with several oil companies including Total, Shell, and Inpex to carry out studies on the field’s development, according to Shana.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.