Iran grants $13 billion in contracts to boost domestic oil production

Arsalan Shahla, Bloomberg March 15, 2024

(Bloomberg) – Iran unveiled a series of projects to raise its oil production in collaboration with domestic companies, the country’s second initiative in days to leverage local resources to develop its energy sector.

Iranian companies were granted $13 billion in contracts on Sunday to boost production from six oil fields by as much as 350,000 bpd, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The flagship projects include the development of the giant Azadegan field, which has an estimated 32 Bboe reserves, and Azar, both of which are shared with Iraq along Iran’s western and southwestern borders.

Iran’s pivot toward domestic firms gained momentum in 2018, when multinational companies largely left the country’s energy market in the wake of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Tehran nuclear deal and re-imposition of sanctions.

The shift gathered pace after hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who holds anti-Western views, became Iran’s president in 2021. Raisi advocated a policy that centered on curbing reliance on foreign entities.

IRNA described the new agreements as the country’s biggest oil deals in a decade, without elaborating on how they’ll be funded. In 2022, a consortium of local companies and banks was assigned to develop Azadegan with necessary investments estimated at $7 billion.

Last week, Iran said it awarded $20 billion in contracts to domestic firms in a race with Qatar to ramp up production from the offshore South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf.

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