Russians will soon start “executive operations” on developing two oil fields in Iran, Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Mohsen Khojastehmehr has said.
He made the announcement on the sidelines of Iran Oil Show, an international oil, gas, refining and petrochemical exhibition, which opened in Tehran on Friday. Khojastehmehr did not give further details.
Since the January visit to Moscow by President Ebrahim Raeisi who was accompanied by a number of oil executives, there has been speculation about the participation of Russian companies in Iran’s oil projects. Oil officials, however, have remained tight-lipped or opted to only speak in general terms.
Khojastehmehr visited Moscow for “final talks” on contracts discussed by Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji. Media reports at the time said Russian firms had agreed to offer investment or technology to Iranian oil and gas projects or participate as contractors.
Last November, Russia’s second-largest crude oil producer Lukoil said it would be happy to return to talks on its Iranian oil projects, but was waiting for the outcome of the Vienna talks on removing US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“We are interested in coming back to these fields. A lot of work has been done some time ago, we know these fields and their geology,” Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov said.
Lukoil was in talks with Iran to develop the Ab Teymour and Mansouri oil fields, but put those plans on hold in late 2018 after the US pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the country’s oil industry.
At the time, Russian companies had signed a record number of oil and gas contracts with Iran since the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic in early 2016.
In 2011 when the US and the Europeans intensified sanctions on Iran, Lukoil pulled out of a joint project with Norway’s Statoil which included their discovery of oil in Iran’s Azar and Changuleh fields.
Iran and Russia signed a dozen cooperation agreements covering energy, railway, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and tourism in June 2019, giving rise to hopes that Moscow had opted to ignore the US sanctions.
The agreements included cooperation on exploration, recovery and production of oil, and investment in oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
Iranian officials said then as many as 12 projects in the petroleum sector had been presented to Russia’s Gazprom, Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Zarubezhneft, Taftneft and Lukoil for development.
President Vladimir Putin also said Russia was prepared to continue its oil investment in Iran to the tune of $50 billion despite the US sanctions, but the country apparently backed down on those plans as the sanctions set in.
Source » presstv