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Firms submit gas utilisation study to Iran

Dubai (Reuters) - A consortium of nine foreign energy firms have presented Iran's National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) with a proposal for a 25-year gas utilisation plan for the country, an Iranian industry official said yesterday.

Nasser Tofighi, managing director of NIOC subsidiary Oil Industry Engineering and Construction (OIEC), which is supervising the plan, told Reuters the nine-month study would cost $2 million.

"The study involves the production and export of gas in Iran. It is looking at integrated gas," he said. Iran's South Pars gas project will be the main supplier for Iran's gas plans, Tofighi said.

The consortium comprises of BHP Petroleum, TotalFinaElf, Agip, Petronas, BP Amoco, Royal Dutch/Shell, Gaz de Franceand BG International. The South Pars project is the first major step taken by Iran to develop its huge untapped gas reserves, the world's largest after Russia.

Iran has said developing the new phases of South Pars by international bidders would generate $3 billion worth of gas a year.

Iran already has a $2 billion deal with a consortium of France's Total, Russia's Gazprom and Petronas to develop the second and third phases of the Gulf-based project, with reserves estimated at some 12.3 trillion cubic metres of gas.

The country, Opec's second largest oil producer, is urging foreign companies to invest in its vast natural gas industry, which has huge potential. Iran sits on more than 24 trillion cubic metres of proven natural gas reserves, 16 per cent of the global total, while only producing 3.1 per cent of the world's output.


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