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Dec 18 2011

Iran, Russia set to ink $700m oil deal


TEHRAN - National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Russia's Tatneft are scheduled to sign a deal, worth $700 million, in Tehran today to develop the Zagheh heavy crude oilfield in southwest Iran.

The deal is aimed to produce 7,000 barrels per day (bpd) heavy crude from the oilfield in the first phase and boost it to 55,000 bpd in the next phases, the Mehr news agency reported.

The field has been left inactive for several years.

Eighteen heavy and extra heavy crude oilfields have so far been explored in Iran. The Ferdowsi oilfield, as the largest extra heavy crude oilfield in the Middle East, will become operational by the end of the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2015), the NIOC director for planning affairs Abdolmohammad Delparish announced in September.

Delparish added that development of onshore heavy crude oilfields such as Kooh-e Mond and Zagheh were also on agenda.

Currently, Iran's in-place oil reserves are estimated at 560 billion barrels, of which 140 billion barrels are recoverable, including 70 billion barrels heavy and extra heavy crudes.

The NIOC managing director Ahmad Qalebani had announced earlier that Iran has excluded developing heavy crude oilfields of the oil industry's first priorities.

Like non-associated oilfields, heavy crude oilfields have also been excluded of the list of prioritized oil development plans, Qalebani added, according to the ISNA news agency.

However, if any entity offers buy-back or finance investments on non-associated or heavy crude oilfields, "we will welcome the offers", Qalebani explained.

"Developing joint oil and gas fields is the first priority of the country's oil industry," he said.

© Tehran Times 2011

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