Lukoil, Total in Talks With NIOC

Lukoil, Total in Talks With NIOCLukoil, Total in Talks With NIOC

Iran has started negotiations to sell crude oil to Russia's Lukoil and French major Total, deputy for international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company said.

"We have had positive talks with Lukoil and Total … Initial agreements have been reached on oil export to the duo," Seyyed Mohsen Qamsari was quoted as saying by IRNA on Sunday.

Lukoil is reportedly seeking Iranian crude, although Moscow is the world's second biggest oil exporter after OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, Lukoil CEO said Russia's second largest oil producer plans to sign a deal on exploration and production with Iran following changes in the Persian Gulf nation’s tax laws.

Vagit Alekperov said he plans to meet Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries convene in Vienna, Austria, in December.

Oil companies are eying projects in Iran, which has the world’s fourth-largest reserves, after Tehran reached an agreement with six world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for an end to economic sanctions.

Lukoil stopped work in Iran as a minority partner in a project called Anaran in 2010 due to sanctions. Total was also active in developing Iranian energy projects for more than 20 years, including the development of Iran's biggest gas field, South Pars, which holds about half of the country's gas reserves.

But it ceased operations in Iran five years ago following disagreements over contract terms and pressure from the French and US governments over oil and trade sanctions against Tehran.