Pertamina to Survey 2 Iranian Oilfields

Pertamina to Survey  2 Iranian OilfieldsPertamina to Survey  2 Iranian Oilfields

National Iranian Oil Company and Pertamina signed a nondisclosure agreement on Monday that allows the state-owned Indonesian oil firm to conduct studies on two Iranian oilfields.

The agreement was signed by NIOC chief executive, Ali Kardor, and Pertamina's chief executive, Dwi Soetjipto, in Tehran, Oil Ministry's official news agency Shana reported.

Under the agreement, Pertamina has six months to survey Iran's onshore Abteymour and Mansouri oilfields.

"The agreement is the first step of cooperation between the state-run oil companies of Iran and Indonesia" in the upstream oil industry, Kardor said, stressing that NDA is part of efforts to ease the transfer of foreign technology to tap into Iran's massive hydrocarbon reserves.

"Iran is one of Pertamina's priorities. We're serious about investing in Iran's upstream oil and gas, which will help Iran increase its oil production," Soetjipto was quoted as saying by Reuters in a statement.

Last month, Pertamina's director for upstream sector, Syamsu Alam, said his company is looking to eventually import crude from the sites for processing in Indonesia if the bids are successful.

Pertamina also said it would import its first shipment of liquefied petroleum gas from Iran in September. Pertamina in May agreed to purchase 600,000 tons of LPG from NIOC.

The two sides also reportedly discussed building a joint refinery in Indonesia.

To expand its crude export markets, Iran has been pushing to build or own refineries overseas, including in South Africa and Brazil, which would only process Iranian crude.

Mansouri Oilfield is located 60 kilometers off the Persian Gulf in Khuzestan Province. It holds an estimated 3.3 billion barrels of oil in place. Iran currently draws around 60,000 barrels per day from the field, but plans call for boosting output to 100,000 bpd initially and to 150,000 barrels in the long run.

Abteymour oilfield, which is close to Mansouri, is estimated to hold 15 billion barrels of crude. Output stands at around 60,000 bpd, but NIOC hopes to produce 110,000 bpd from the field.

According to reports, Russia's largest private oil firm Lukoil has expressed interest in developing the two fields.

  NDA With Total

The easing of most international trade and financial restrictions on Iran's nuclear program has allowed the country to gradually open up its key oil and gas sector to foreign firms.

In March, NIOC signed a similar agreement with Total S.A. for the South Azadegan Oilfield. Government officials said the agreement would allow Total only to study the field and does not grant the French company any drilling rights.

Kardor also said foreign firms will be obliged to choose an Iranian partner in the country's upstream oil projects. He did not say whether or not Pertamina will carry out studies in tandem with an Iranian company.

Last month, the Oil Ministry approved eight domestic companies and conglomerates for partnership with foreign firms in its new oil and gas projects that are expected to be tendered this year. The list is not final, as the ministry has given nine other companies a second chance to qualify.

Iran is pushing for new deals with multinationals to raise crude production despite a global oversupply and persistently low prices. It is now pumping close to 4 million barrels a day, a level last seen before the tightening of sanctions in 2011.