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Iran Announces Tenders On 17 Oil Blocks December 26, 2006

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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TEHRAN (Dow Jones)-The National Iranian Oil Co., or NIOC, will call international tenders for exploration and development on 17 on- and offshore oil blocks in high-circulation Iranian print media Tuesday, said an Iranian Oil Ministry official Monday.

“We’ve decided to hold tenders on 17 (oil) exploration and development blocks, spreading over 11 of the country’s provinces as well as the Persian Gulf, made up of 12 onshore and five offshore,” the state-run radio quoted Mahmoud Mohaddess, the director of the NIOC’s exploration, as saying.

“Exploration and development” in the NIOC jargon means that a contractor will be able to proceed to the development of an oil block after having completed the exploration phase as parts of the same contract. Mohaddess said the NIOC’s estimate on the minimum investment needed for the exploration and development of the 17 blocks, which spread over an area 129,000 square kilometers, at Euro 460 million.

In the invitation to international tender, the NIOC will share information regarding the value of tender documents, the level of investment needed as well as and other essential data as regards the blocks with the interested companies and will inform them of its technical and financial conditions. Mohaddess said the NIOC spends around $250-$300 million on exploration of new oil blocks throughout the country annually.

The NIOC announced earlier this month that it will hold an international conference in Vienna on Feb. 1-2 to introduce the 17 blocks to international energy firms. The NIOC held its previous conference on exploration and development in the Hague, Netherlands, in January 2002 to introduce 16 oil blocks. It was previously reported that of the 17 blocks, 12 are newly defined and five pertain to previous blocks that went on tender invitation but which the NIOC failed to strike deals on.

The NIOC is making the announcement Tuesday to make sure domestic firms get a first shot at the blocks as part of the Oil Ministry’s policy of giving domestic companies priority over foreign firms in the development of the country’s oil and natural gas projects.

“Business priority at the Oil Ministry is with domestic companies, and as long as a domestic contractor in the country has the capability of implementing a project not even one work instance would be entrusted with foreign firms,” the Oil Ministry’s information network quoted Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh as saying Monday.

By Hashem Kalantari, Dow Jones Newswire

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