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A consortium of Russian and Iranian companies signed an agreement with Tehran to develop two oilfields located on the country’s border with Iraq, according to emerging reports—Iran’s second deal since the nuclear pact.
The project, which will develop the Aban and West Paidar fields, will cost $740 million and will produce roughly 105 million barrels of oil over a ten-year period.
Russia’s state-run Zarubeznheft Oil Co. and Iran’s Dana Energy are the contract’s private signatories. Since the 2015 nuclear deal that reintroduced Iran to global oil markets, this is only the second international development deal that has reached fruition. Last year, the country signed a $5 billion agreement with France's Total SA and a Chinese oil company to develop a sizeable offshore natural gas field.
During President Barack Obama’s term, Iranian officials had been vocal about their disappointment with the U.S. government’s lack of diplomatic assurance to global partners about the longevity and permanence of the nuclear deal. Senior officials said that major oil and gas firms were hesitant to sign development deals with Iran because of the uncertainty of state department policies.
Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, he has threatened on multiple occasions to scrap the deal entirely. Trump has begrudgingly waived sanctions on Iran multiple times so far, as he is required to do every few months as a way of recertifying the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). However, when he waived the sanctions in January, he said it would be the last time he did so unless the nuclear deal was somehow fixed, although how specifically that was supposed to be accomplished was unclear. If the president trashes the nuclear deal, Iran will likely restart its nuclear program, as it has already stated.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…