Gholam-Reza Manouchehri, deputy managing director of NIOC, said the companies were Lukoil, Tatneft, and Zarubezhneft. The contracts are the latest demonstration of the ever-closer ties between Moscow and Tehran, especially in energy.
Since January, when most economic sanctions on Iran were lifted, the country has been in a rush to revive its energy industry, after four years of barely making ends meet. For this, it needs the assistance of foreign companies with production know-how and infrastructure investments.
Russia has become a preferred partner for Tehran, not least because it also suffered economic sanctions from the West following the annexation of Crimea.
As Oilprice reported, earlier this year Gazprom and Gazprom Neft, and NIOC, signed preliminary agreements for the development of several oil and gas fields.
Zarubezhneft, for its part, said in July that it had struck a deal with NIOC to conduct a study on two oilfields that Iran shares with neighboring Iraq – West Paydar and Aban, – and came up with a proposal to increase the fields’ recovery rate.
In August, Iran’s Tasdid Offshore Development Company, a unit of NIOC, signed a US$1-billion contract with Russian shipyard Krasnye Barrikady for the construction of a number of offshore drilling rigs.
In this context, more news about production deals could be expected.
But Russian companies are by no means the only ones Iran is taking on. Earlier this month, NIOC signed a contract with Norwegian DNO, which will explore production at the Changuleh field, with estimated reserves of some 2 billion barrels of crude.
French Total, the first international supermajor to return to Iran, was selected to develop the giant South Pars offshore gas field. Total is partnering with China’s CNPC on the project.
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