TEHRAN, June 27 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran's negotiations to finalize Azar and Changouleh oilfields' deals with Russia's Gazprom Neft are in final stages, a senior officials with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said Friday.
SHANA news agency quoted Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, vice president in charge of investment affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, as saying that, "We hope to have a final decision soon."
"We are in the last stage of negotiations and are hoping for a good conclusion," he said.
In November last year, Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia's OAO Gazprom, signed a preliminary agreement with NIOC to help develop the Azar and Changouleh oil fields.
Iran has the world's third-largest proven oil reserves at nearly 138 billion barrels or over 10 percent of the world's total, according to BP's 2010 statistical review. Iran is also the world's fifth-largest oil exporter.
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The statement comes after state-owned Pars Oil and Gas Company awarded contracts to develop phases 13 and 14 of the South Pars field to domestic companies after talks with Shell and Repsol came to no avail.
Ghanimifard said the Anglo-Dutch company has been told to contact Pars Oil and Gas Company so "they will be introduced to contractors" with whom they could work. Shell declined to comment.
But Ghanimifard said Repsol has "apologized" as "they cannot be in Persian LNG," the liquefied-natural-gas project tied to the phases.
A spokeswoman for Repsol said it "has formally informed the National Iranian] Oil Company of its decision to discontinue its participation."
Ghanimifard said Shell and Repsol's decisions had nothing to do with sanctions. He said Repsol's pullout was tied to the financial crisis in Spain. It's "because of problems the country (Spain) cannot sort out," the official said.
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