Iran says it will hold “within days” a much-awaited tender over the development of a lucrative oil project in its southwestern province of Khouzestan.
Ali Kardor, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), told the domestic media that a tender over the development of Azadegan oil field would be held before Friday.
Kardor added that invitation letters would be sent out to 29 international companies to submit their proposals.
He emphasized that only companies had been invited that were present in Iran’s list of eligible companies.
The official added that the companies included Shell, Total, CNPC, Sinioc, Lukoil, Pertamina, OMV, etc.
“Tender documents would be sent to any of those companies that voices interest in Azadegan,” said Kardor.
Iran discovered Azadegan oil field in 1999 in what was the country’s biggest oil find in decades. The country accordingly teamed up with Inpex to push the project toward development. However, the Japanese company later quit the project in what appeared to be the result of US sanctions against Iran.
The NIOC later divided the project into South Azadegan and North Azadegan and both were awarded to China’s CNPC when Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013) was in office.
The media reported in 2014 that Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh had sidelined CNPC from South Azadegan due to its protracted delays in developing the field.
South Azadegan is believed to hold an in-place oil reserve of about 33.2 billion barrels and its recoverable resources estimated at about 5.2 billion barrels.