TEHRAN, July 18 (Mehr News Agency) -- The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Russia's giant gas company Gazprom have signed an agreement for the development of Iran's oil and gas fields.
The memorandum of understanding was inked by NIOC Managing Director Seifollah Jashnsaz and Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller in Tehran on Sunday.
Gazprom is the largest gas company in the world.
Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Monday that Iran and Russian are determined to expand their cooperation in the oil and gas sectors.
"We support the cooperation between the National Iranian Oil Company and Gazprom," Nozari stated.
"This agreement has extensive dimensions."
According to the MOU, NIOC and Gazprom will cooperate in the development of Iran's oil and gas fields, the development of Iran's North Azadegan oil field, the transfer of oil from the Caspian Sea to the Sea of Oman, swaps of Russian gas, technology transfers, and the construction of a refinery in northern Iran.
The MOU also leaves the door open for Gazprom to participate in the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.
The Gazprom CEO said, "Based on the agreement, we will form working groups, and one month after the signing of the deal we will start the work."
The agreement states that Gazprom will participate in developing Iran's massive South Pars Gas Field, though no specific phase has been mentioned yet. The details of the work on South Pars will be clarified in the future, the Iranian Oil Ministry announced.
It was also agreed that a working group would be established in the next 30 days to work out the specifics of the cooperation.
According to the MOU, NIOC and Gazprom agreed to establish a joint company for cooperation in the energy sector.
The Iranian oil minister said the joint company will implement projects in Iran, Russia, and third countries, including South American states.
Iran and Russia also agreed to increase their cooperation in projects in neighboring Asian countries.
Nozari said this is the first time that Russia's Gazprom and Iran's NIOC have signed such a major energy deal.
"The two sides agreed to implement the terms of the agreement as soon as possible."
The presidents of the two countries are in favor of Iran-Russia cooperation in the field of energy, he added.
The NIOC managing director said Miller proposed a gas swap deal in which Iran would receive gas from Gazprom and in return export the same amount of gas to Russian customers from the Persian Gulf.
NIOC will also participate in the development of Russian oil and gas fields, he added.
"We hope this cooperation will be the beginning of a new day in economic relations between the two great countries of Iran and Russia and lead to multilateral cooperation in other economic spheres," Jashnsaz said.
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