TEHRAN, April 2 (Mehr News Agency) -- An early production from Azadegan oilfield in southern Iran has been awarded to a domestic company, an official said on Saturday.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has awarded the early production from the Azadegan field to its subsidiary National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), NIOC managing director said during a meeting with the NISOC officials in Ahvaz, the capital of the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
Gholamhossein Nozari added that NISOC was granted the project because of its good performance during last Iranian year (ended March 20).
Azadegan is one of the world's giant untapped oilfields, with in-situ reserves estimated at 26 billion barrels.
To develop it, the NIOC signed a $2 billion deal with Japan's INPEX in February 2004, in which the Japanese firm held 75 percent of stakes. But the deal met delays, in part due to rows over mine-sweeping operations at the field.
Disputes continued until last September when INPEX's shares were reduced to 10 percent, based on an agreement with the NIOC.
Currently, NIOC marketing subsidiary Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO) holds 90 percent of shares, with the operatorship awarded to the Petroiran Development Company (PEDCO), another subsidiary of the NIOC.
To start the development of the Azadegan, PEDCO has signed a deal with the National Iranian Drilling Company (NIDC) for drilling operations at the field.
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