Iran to replace Gazprom with domestic firms at Azar fields
Iran says Gazprom failed to conduct scheduled development work at Azar oil fields.Iran has cancelled plans for Russia’s Gazprom to develop its Azar oil field because of “repeated” delays and awarded it to domestic contractors, a newspaper reported yesterday.
“Unfortunately, Gazprom ... delayed fulfilling its undertakings and NIOC had given it repeated warnings, which were never heeded,” Donyaye-e-Eqtesad quoted National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) head Ahmad Qalehbani as saying.
“It was decided that we terminate our cooperation with this company in the Azar oil field, and assign the project to domestic contractors,” he said.
Gazprom and NIOC signed a November 2009 memorandum of understanding to develop the southwest Azar field, which straddles the border with Iraq.
The field holds an estimated two billion barrels of oil, 40 percent of which belongs to Iran, according to oil experts.
Gazprom Neft, the oil unit of Russia’s state-controlled gas producer Gazprom, was to evaluate the project’s technical and economic feasibility before preparing a full-fledged contract.
But in recent months, as Western sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas sector ratcheted up, Tehran repeatedly accused Gazprom of dragging its feet to sign the final contract. The sanctions prevent any investment, technology transfer or sale of equipment in Iran’s petroleum sector.