Japan's Tomen Corp has decided to withdraw from a lucrative deal of 2.8 billion dollars to develop Iran's giant Azadegan oilfield, IRNA reported from Tehran on Sunday quoting a Japanese newspaper's website.
The Asahi Shimbun daily said on its website that Tomen has decided to pull out of a consortium that was formed to develop Azadegan oilfield, stressing that this might undermine the future of the talks over the project.
Meanwhile, Kyodo news agency on Friday highlighted remarks by officials with the consortium that the talks between Iran and Japan on Azadegan project might end in failure, unless the Iranian government makes a concession.
The news agency also quoted the officials as saying that differences over contract terms remain wide.
This, however, contradicted reports by the Asahi quoting a Japanese government source as saying that Tomen's decision would not affect the negotiations, arguing that Tomen's interest was limited to the infrastructure business linked to Azadegan oilfield.
Iran had given preferential negotiation rights to the consortium -- which also comprises Inpex Corp and Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (JAPEX) -- during President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Japan in 2000 to develop Azadegan -- Iran's biggest oil field.
However, the consortium has so far failed to sign an agreement with Iran over the issue and it has apparently decided under US pressure to withdraw from the lucrative deal.
The deadline for an Iran-Japan deal over Azadegan expired at the end of June.
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in September said that Iran has cancelled Japan's preferential rights of Japan to develop Azadegan oil field after the deadline for the consortium was over.
This was followed by later announcements that Iran would hold a limited tender for the development of the Azadegan oil field.
Meanwhile, Kyodo news agency last Sunday reported that Iran has sent an official letter to the consortium that it had the December 15 deadline to participate in an international tender over the project.
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