Oil Confab Set for May

Oil Confab Set for May
Oil Confab Set for May

Iran will hold a conference in mid-May for international companies to bid for its new oil and projects, a senior official at the National Iranian Oil Company said.

"All of Iran's new oil deals will be signed through tenders," Ali Kardor, investment and finance director of NIOC, was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on Saturday.

Iran unveiled 52 oil and gas projects under a new contractual framework, officially known as Iran Petroleum Contract, in a landmark conference in Tehran last year. A second conference was scheduled for February in London to introduce more details of IPC that offers more attractive terms to investors, such as more flexibility on oil price fluctuations and investment risks.

But it was cancelled due to growing opposition to the terms of the new contracts and mounting pressure on President Hassan Rouhani's administration who began revising Iran's 20-year-old buyback contracts in 2013. Government officials blamed the British Embassy's delay in issuing visas for the cancellation.

Kardor did not name the place of the upcoming conference, but the venue is unlikely to have been shifted from London.

However, Kardor's statement will not be seen as a reassuring signal by international investors; the London conference was put off merely three weeks before launch and there is no guarantee that the conference in May will not suffer the same fate due to ongoing infighting over IPC. Addressing speculations over the exemption of French major Total from tenders, Kardor added that the French giant will be competing on an equal footing with other internationals for Iran's oil and gas projects.

NIOC and Total signed a nondisclosure agreement last month as part of the deal that allows the French company to conduct technical surveys in South Azadegan Oilfield, a joint field with Iraq.

Kardor stressed that the NDA was signed "only to provide Total with technical information of the field", adding that it will bind Total to maintain its knowledge of the project confidential.

Iran hopes to attract billions of dollars in foreign investment to upgrade its aging oil and gas facilities after years of sanctions and financial restraints.

Iran's oil export was cut to slightly more than 1 million barrels a day from around 2.5 million barrels before the US and the EU introduced tougher sanctions against its nuclear program in 2012.