NIOC to ensure participation of private sector in studying exploration blocks

October 23, 2019

TEHRAN - The director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)'s Discovery Department has stressed the need for ensuring the participation of the country’s private sector in the assessment and study projects of the discovered blocks across the country.

“The Oil Ministry and NIOC have taken necessary measures to set the ground for the presence of domestic companies in the exploration sector,” Saleh Hendi said on Tuesday in the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for development studies on Bamdad block in the Persian Gulf.

“Iranian companies have been able to participate in numerous exploration projects and offer acceptable performance in terms of utilizing qualified human resources and being equipped with the necessary knowledge and technology,” Hendi said.

The official stated that in the past all the exploration and assessment study projects were carried out by foreign companies, and they have achieved very good results in the country’s oil and gas blocks.

He pointed to the MOU for Bamdad block as the second development study MOU with domestic companies, saying "Bamdad block is considered the best block among the 14 newly discovered blocks by NIOC Discovery Department, since the system for recognizing the proven oil in the block shows very small risks."

Back in February, Hendi had stressed that the private sector should be able to contribute to developing the country’s oil fields.

Speaking in the 3rd Iran International Exploration and Production Congress and Exhibition (Iran E&P 2019) in Tehran, Hendi had noted that like the mining sector in which mines are being developed by the private sector, NIOC should also award oilfield development projects to capable private companies.

“Iran has huge resources of shale oil, shale gas and gas hydrates which have not yet been developed; exploration and development of these resources should be awarded to the private sector”, the official said.

"The private sector can well handle a significant part of the government's responsibilities in the oil industry," he said, adding that this could be initiated with small projects and small fields, and then move to bigger projects.

Earlier in December 2018, the official had also said that National Iranian Oil Company would transfer exploration projects for oil and gas fields to domestic companies.
“Plans are underway to award exploration projects to domestic companies now that the U.S. is putting pressure on foreign companies to operate in Iran”, Hendi said in a press conference.

EF/MA

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