Petrobras in Talks for Caspian Exploration

Petrobras in Talks for Caspian ExplorationPetrobras in Talks for Caspian Exploration

Khazar Exploration and Production Company has started a new round of talks with Brazilian energy corporation Petrobras to carry out deepwater exploration and drilling projects in the Caspian Sea, KEPCO's managing director said on Saturday.

"A joint committee will be established to use the expertise of Petrobras in deepwater [projects] in the Caspian region," Ali Osuli added.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Armando Monteiro agreed to set up a joint committee to boost energy ties in a meeting held in October, Mehr News Agency reported.

KEPCO reached an agreement with Petrobras in 2010 on developing two exploration blocks after three years of negotiations, the official said, but the US-engineered sanctions forced the Brazilian major to leave Iran.

"Upon the lifting of sanctions, we want to continue cooperation with Petrobras where we left off," Osuli said.

Last month, Zanganeh said Iran is planning to team up with Brazilian firms to conduct deepwater oil exploration in northern waters. Iran and Brazil have also signed a deal to jointly build an oil refinery with a processing capacity of 300,000 barrels per day in the South American country. The refinery would entirely use Iranian oil as feedstock, allowing for long-term supply of the country's crude to Brazil.

The prospect of cooperation with Petrobras comes as the company is grappling with a significant hit in production following the company's biggest labor strike in 20 years.

The company said in a statement it has scheduled meeting with union representatives for Monday to seek a resolution to the labor dispute that began on Sunday in which unions are protesting against the sale of company assets.