New Study on Hydrocarbon Reserves in Northern Iran

New Study on Hydrocarbon Reserves in Northern IranNew Study on Hydrocarbon Reserves in Northern Iran

The Research Institute of Petroleum Industry has signed an agreement with Khazar Exploration and Production Company (KEPCO) on conducting seismic studies for oil and gas discovery in the region of Dasht-e Gorgan and Gonbad-e Kavus County in northern Golestan Province.

Farhang Khatibi, KEPCO’s acting managing director, and Hamidreza Katouzian, head of RIPI, signed the agreement on Sunday, based on which RIPI will conduct seismic studies in a project supervised by KEPCO, Shana reported.

Khatibi said at the signing ceremony of the contract that RIPI is a well-known research complex in Iran’s oil industry, hoping that the agreement would spur more cooperation between the two sides and help materialize the envisaged oil and gas exploration goals in the region.

“KEPCO has discovered eight blocks in the South Caspian, of which Sardar-e Jangal Block’s exploration activities have been completed,” he said about his company’s main projects in the Caspian Sea.

According to Yousef Etemadi, KEPCO’s managing director, based on geochemical studies on the Iranian side of Caspian Sea, 46 structures have been specified, of which eight blocks top the list of NIOC priorities.  

The Caspian Sea region, which includes Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Iran, is one of the oldest oil-producing areas in the world and is an increasingly important source of global energy production.

In a conference last year, Tehran put three exploratory blocks in the Caspian region, namely 24, 26 and 29 as well as Sardar-e Jangal, in the list of projects that will be put out to international tender.

Underscoring that RIPI is the largest research institute in the country’s oil industry and “a unique one in the Middle East”, Katouzian said RIPI will employ its most skilled workforce in the implementation of the project.

  European Firms in Caspian Talks

Gholamreza Manouchehri, a deputy at the National Iranian Oil Company, said last month that Norwegian, British and Dutch companies have asked for permission to study Iran's oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea.

“Negotiations are underway with several foreign companies to develop the Caspian Sea oil and gas fields,” he told IRNA.

According to Manouchehri, as soon as talks come to fruition, NIOC will decide on the most economically viable proposals and sign a nondisclosure agreement for hydrocarbon studies.

Due to the abundance of gas resources in southern Iran, officials have been rather slow in exploiting the northern fields.

Moreover, the Caspian Sea's complex geological structures and its noticeable depth have turned it into a high-risk venture for oil drilling and exploration.