Iran to authorise $2.8 bln investment in Azadegan
TEHRAN, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Iran's draft budget bill for the new year
starting March 2001 authorises up to $2.8 billion to be invested in the
giant Azadegan oilfield through buy-back contracts, the semi-official Iran
newspaper said on Wednesday.
With an estimated six billion barrels of recoverable reserves, Azadegan,
located in the Iranian southwest, is the world's largest find since Russia
found the 5.5 billion barrel Priobye in 1982.
The 520 sq km (200 sq mile) field has a production potential of 400,000
barrels per day and could earn total revenues of $100 billion given current
estimates of recoverable reserves.
Iran has already given the go ahead to two Japanese oil companies, the
Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (JAPEX) and Indonesia Petroleum Ltd, to
submit offers for developing parts of the field and expects their offers
by June 2001.
Oil ministry officials have said other interested firms could bid after
the June deadline set for the Japanese firms, given priority status after
talks between President Mohammad Khatami and the Japanese prime minister
in Tokyo earlier this year.
Seismic data from the field was analysed by U.S. oil firm Conoco Inc
, which has been subject to a Treasury department investigation following
allegations that it may have breached U.S. sanctions against Iran by analysing
Conoco has denied the allegations.
U.S. oil firms have gradually stepped up pressure on Washington to scrap
the sanctions, which they say hurts them most, and expect their campaign
to come to a head with the expiry of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act next
Many Iranians are speculating that a confirmation of the Republican
victory in the U.S. presidential elections may be the oil industry's best
bet of easing restrictions on Iran.
George W. Bush has powerful industry links while Dick Cheney had said
he supported the concept of renewing economic ties with Iran.