NIOC, Russia Expand Seismic Studies, Water Coop.

NIOC, Russia Expand  Seismic Studies, Water Coop.NIOC, Russia Expand  Seismic Studies, Water Coop.

The National Iranian Oil Company and Rosgeologia—Russian State Geological Company— have started work on updating Iranian oil and gas fields' seismic data and carrying out a number of water projects.

The deal is part of a far-reaching agreement with Russia's second-largest oil company Lukoil, which was signed after most western sanctions against Iran were lifted in January.

Oil Ministry's official news agency Shana on Wednesday said Dalgeofizika JSC, a subsidiary of Rosgeologia, has begun reviewing previous seismic data for the Persian Gulf as well as Abadan plains.

Dalgeofizika has one year to finalize seismic surveys for Iran's rich hydrocarbon reserves, the agency added. According to a previous statement by NIOC, the agreement is aimed at boosting output from West Karun oil block in southern Iran that includes Yaran and Mansouri fields as well as Yadavaran, North and South Azadegan joint fields with Iraq.

NIOC and Lukoil signed an exploration agreement worth $6 million in January, based on which the Russian company will cover all operational expenses of joint geological studies and geophysical exploration.

Lukoil was active in developing Iran's Anaran oil block, but sanctions by the US and the EU targeting Tehran's nuclear program forced the company out of Iran in 2010. The oil block 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.

Iran is an energy superpower, holding the largest natural gas reserves and the fourth-largest crude oil reserves in the world.

The government of President Hassan Rouhani has made it a top priority to ramp up crude output from joint fields, as the country has vowed to boost production to 4 million barrels a day, a level last seen in 2010.

But Iran needs foreign technology and investment to tap into its huge hydrocarbon reserves after years of financial setbacks and limited relations with the global community due to economic sanctions.

  Water Projects

The Russian firm's activity will not be limited to oil and gas studies, as the company has signed up for a wide array of water-related projects in Iran.

Rosgeologia's executive director, Roman Panov, said in December his company had signed an agreement for long-term cooperation in underground water resources exploration and water balance recovery in the Islamic Republic.

“There are certain first priority aspects of cooperation. One of them is development of a subsoil exploration program," Panov said in a statement.

Iran is situated in one of the world's most water-stressed regions. Rainfall has declined to its lowest levels in more than 15 years, while profligate consumption and excessive extraction from the country's depleting water reserves are exacerbating the situation.

The government is taking steps to address the widening water crisis, including exploration for new underground water resources and measures to curb wasteful consumption.

Panov added that the first foray of operations in Iran will be focused on water supply within a specific region, investigation of deep aquifers for potential water supply for communities and industrial facilities, estimation of total underground water resources based on consolidation, review and analysis of actual, historical and published data to outline potential areas of underground water exploration and assessment.

Moreover, the agreement provides for construction of water structures and facilities for potable and utility water production from near-surface aquifers, as well as monitoring of geological environment in water intake areas for the enhanced recovery of potable and utility ground water.