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Japan’s biggest exploration and production company, Inpex, will consider bidding in the tender to develop Iran’s Azadegan oil field, in which the Japanese corporation had been operator of the project before pulling out in 2010 over the tightened Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Top Iranian officials said in the past two days that Iran had launched the tender for the development of the Azadegan field in the country’s southwest, and had already invited international oil companies to participate. National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) managing director Ali Kardor told state-run Press TV on Sunday that the tender would be held before this coming Friday, with invitation letters to file proposals to be sent to 29 international oil companies.
“Inpex is in the process of gathering information and conducting updates as necessary. Inpex will consider its response once the tender is published and the terms and conditions pertaining to the tender and oil contract are clarified,” Platts reported on Tuesday, citing a company spokesman as saying.
Back in 2004, Inpex entered into an agreement with NIOC and its subsidiary Naftiran Intertrade Co. Ltd. for the integrated appraisal and development operations of the Azadegan field, with Inpex holding a 75-percent working interest. Inpex later cut its stake to 10 percent, and announced in October 2010 that it was withdrawing from the Azadegan development project.
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In January this year, The Japan Times quoted a senior Iranian official as saying that Inpex had launched negotiations with NIOC to develop the Azadegan oil field, and is a strong candidate for the contract.
Azadegan, which is estimated to have up to 42 billion barrels of oil in place and is considered Iran’s biggest onshore field, currently produces less than 50,000 bpd, but Iran hopes to increase production volumes to between 300,000 bpd and 320,000 bpd, according to Platts.
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.