Lukoil Expresses Renewed Interest in Iran

Lukoil Expresses Renewed Interest in IranLukoil Expresses Renewed Interest in Iran

Russia's second largest oil producer is ready to resume Iranian oil projects, a top Oil Ministry official said Thursday.

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh met Lukoil’s chief executive, Vagit Alekperov, in Tehran on Thursday, Iran’s Deputy Petroleum Minister Amir-Hossein Zamaninia told state media. They discussed introducing enhanced oil recovery techniques like gas injection to maintain production from Iran's aging oilfields, ISNA reported.

Lukoil is also interested in exploring new areas in Iran for hydrocarbon reserves.

“The Russian company has announced its readiness for participation in enhanced oil recovery and improved oil recovery plans for Iranian oilfields,” Zamaninia was cited as saying by Press TV.

"We are in active dialogue. We have an agreement, in terms of which we are working on exploration of the Persian Gulf shelf and a number of provinces," Alekperov told Russian daily Vedomosti ahead of his visit to Tehran.

Lukoil topped Forbes magazine's list of Russia’s 200 largest private companies this year. In the mid-2000s, Lukoil was Russia’s biggest oil producer, it’s now second to Rosneft.

The Moscow-based giant is first among the world’s private oil and gas companies in terms of proven oil reserves and is second in terms of extraction. The company accounts for 1% of world reserves of hydrocarbons and more than 2% of the world’s crude production.

  Abandoned Projects

Lukoil’s cooperation with Iran was disrupted due to EU and US sanctions against Iran's nuclear works. The Russian oil major had to abandon its Anaran oil project in 2010.

The Anaran oil block, which was being jointly developed by Lukoil and Norway’s Statoil, has estimated crude reserves of 2 billion barrels. The Russian company suffered a $63 million loss when it abandoned the project. In 2013, Iran reimbursed Lukoil $60 million. In April, Alekperov announced plans to return to Iran as soon as sanctions over the country’s nuclear program were lifted. Lukoil is also considering buying assets in Iran as well as in Mexico after 2016, putting into operation a number of huge projects in 2015-16. The company has already reopened an office in Tehran.

  Renewed Foreign Interest

Thursday’s meeting comes after the nuclear talks concluded in July, drawing the prospect of removal of sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran's atomic activities nearer.

Iran is of great interest for all oil and gas companies, according to Lukoil’s chief executive. Delegations from France, Germany, Italy and Serbia have already visited Tehran to discuss trade and financial issues.

Iran and six leading world powers—United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany—signed a comprehensive plan in July for ending international sanctions against Tehran in exchange for putting restrictions on its controversial nuclear program.