Foreign Firms Eye Hydrocarbon Exploration

Foreign Firms Eye Hydrocarbon Exploration Foreign Firms Eye Hydrocarbon Exploration

Following the discovery of new oil and gas reserves west of the country, preliminary talks have been held with 18 Asian and European companies for development of hydrocarbon-rich areas, exploration director of the National Iranian Oil Company said Sunday.

Geological explorations and other relevant activities should soon start in Lorestan Province, where the new reserves have been spotted, Hormoz Ghalavand told ISNA. "We have already started negotiating with several foreign companies in this regard," he said, adding that these potential investors have been assured that their investments will be safe and they will be supported by the Iranian government from the exploration phase until their operations reach the production stage.

The news comes as it was only last month when Ghalavand announced the signing of an agreement with a European company to start several new oil and gas exploration projects in Iran.

Currently, Iran holds 157 billion barrels of crude oil and over 34 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves. Based on latest estimates, Iran has crude oil and natural gas for at least 50 and 80 years respectively, excluding the new discoveries.

Ghalavand reiterated that the exploration activities in the Salt Domes will be carried out by a European energy giant, without providing further details.

The official further noted that in addition to oil and gas exploration in Salt Domes, negotiations has been held with the European company for technology transfer. "NIOC board of directors has approved terms of cooperation with the European company," Ghalavand said.

The NIOC official announced that negotiations have been held with international companies for oil and gas exploration and development of 40 new exploration blocks.

Earlier, NIOC had announced that Iran ranked first in the world in terms of new discoveries of oil and gas.

 Iran holds the world’s second biggest natural gas reserves after Russia, and the fourth-largest proved crude oil reserves.  It holds 17% of the world’s proved natural gas reserves and more than one-third of OPEC’s reserves. The country’s largest natural gas field, South Pars, is estimated to hold roughly 40% of Iran’s gas reserves.