The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Russia’s Gazprom have signed a “historic” deal worth $40 billion for joint investment in oil and gas projects.
NIOC’s chief Mohsen Khojastehmehr and Gazprom’s deputy chairman Vitaly Markelov signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two state companies using a video conference link on Tuesday, according to a report by the Iranian Oil Ministry’s news service Shana.
The deal was signed just hours ahead of a planned visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Tehran.
Shana’s report said the MoU will cover development projects at several Iranian oil and gas fields, including a $10 billion project in Kish and North Pars gas fields located in the Persian Gulf as well as a $15 billion project to boost pressure at South Pars, the world’s largest gas field located on the maritime border between Iran and Qatar.
NIOC and Gazprom will also cooperate on finishing liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects as well as on building gas export pipelines and on swap deals between Iran and Russia involving natural gas and petroleum products, it added.
NIOC’s Khojastehmehr said the deal with Gazprom will be the largest foreign investment commitment on record in the entire history of the Iranian oil industry, adding that it will account for a fourth of all investments planned for the Iranian oil sector until 2025.
He said delegations from the NIOC and Gazprom had held meetings in Russia’s Saint Petersburg and in Tehran before the signing of the agreement.
The official, who also serves as an Iranian deputy oil minister, said the two state companies will begin technical and economic talks on the investment deal in the near future.