Iran says it has signed a deal with Russia’s Lukoil over two exploration projects in the country’s southwestern oil-rich Khouzestan province.
Hormoz Qalavand, the director for exploration affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), has been quoted by the media as saying that Lukoil is to look for hydrocarbon reserves in Dasht-e Abadan and the northern parts of the Persian Gulf.
Qalavand added that the value of the contract is about $6 million, stressing that the Russian company has already started the work over the projects.
It will also take care of all the costs in both projects, the official added.
The Russian company and Norway's Statoil had won a deal to launch exploration operations in Anaran block in western Iran in 2003. Lukoil held a stake of 25 percent in the consortium and the remaining stakes belonged to Statoil.
Their operations led to the discovery of oil in Azar and Changuleh fields in 2005. However, both had to pull out from Iran in 2011 after the US and Europeans intensified sanctions on Iran.
In December 2015, Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov was quoted by the media as saying that he had discussed the prospects for the company to return to Iran to develop Azar oil field.
To the same effect, the company reopened its office in Tehran, with its first vice president Ravil Maganov saying the company looked forward to participating in Iranian energy projects.
Maganov said Azar would be Lukoil's primary focus but the company was studying geological data from other projects as well.