Aug 30, 2017, 11:52 AM
News Code: 82649271
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Iran set to sign 10 Oil contracts by March 2018

Tehran, Aug 30, IRNA - Following the signature of a $4.8 billion contract for the development of Phase 11 of South Pars gas field with a consortium of France's Total, China's CNPCI and Iran's Petropars, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) announced its obligation to finalize 10 more contracts for developing oil and gas fields by March 2018.

Negotiations were under way as part of arrangements for putting out the projects to tender, NIOC's deputy managing director for development and engineering Gholam-Reza Manouchehri was quoted by 'Iran Petroleum' magazine, published by Iran's Ministry of petroleum.

He said that Azadegan oil field would be one of the prospective projects, adding, 'The process of bidding round has started for it. Azadegan oil field is among giant oil fields and it requires major work,' added the magazine in its latest isssue.

Manouchehri said there was opportunity for all qualified companies willing to invest in Iran.

'There is room for all these companies to maneuver. Meantime, there are many opportunities for Iranian companies,' he added.

Asked if Russian companies would be prioritized for the development of Azadegan, he replied: 'No! But Russian companies are bidding for the development of Mansouri and Ab Teimour fields.'

'The list of bidders will be drawn up for oil tenders based on the request of these companies and MOUs signed with them, expression of readiness by them and also the calls for tender issued by NIOC,' he added.

Manouchehri further said that talks were under way with Denmark's Maersk for the development of the oil layer of South Pars gas field.

'Talks are not limited to this company; however, they have presented their plan,' he added.

The official said that NIOC had estimated the oil layer's output at 35,000 b/d.

'The plan presented by Maersk contains a higher figure. It was discussed by the consulting board and we hope that the plan would go ahead on schedule,' he said.

Qatar owns 60% of the oil layer of South Pars, which is known there as al-Shaheen. Iran recently started extracting 25,000 b/d from the oil layer. Due to the complexity of existence of drilling and heavy crude oil, Iran hopes to conclude negotiations with qualified companies for developing the oil layer of South Pars and raise output from this field which it shares with Qatar.

According to Manouchehri, many Russian and Chinese companies held talks with NIOC after the South Pars deal was signed.

'They congratulated us profoundly and they believed that a way had been opened for the development of Iran's petroleum industry.

Furthermore, European companies expressed more willingness for negotiations with Iran after the signature of this contract,' he added.

'In light of tough and round the clock talks for signing the contract to develop Phase 11 of South Pars, the new model of oil contracts has been watered down and modified. Naturally we will be able to accelerate our project in future contracts,' said Manouchehri.

He added it took a long time for the government to finalize the newly-developed contractual frameworks.

'Some say negotiations with Total lasted 18 months, but some others say one year and two months. That's not weird for such a contract,' he added.

Asked why no tender bid was held for Phase 11 of South Pars, Manouchehri said: 'Phase 11 is the only remaining project in South Pars.

We expected this project to go ahead quickly and reach production, particularly because it is located along the border with Qatar.'

'Due to certain features of this reservoir and the rapidity we had in mind and given the readiness of Total, the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum had predicted that the fastest solution would be to conclude this contract as soon as possible,' he said.

'Of course, most contracts for the development of South Pars field have so far been based on tender bid exception and 10 phases have been awarded on this basis. Earlier, bid exception had been applied to some projects,' Manouchehri said.