TEHRAN (NIOC) _ France’s energy giant, Total will start importing 160,000 barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil from Iran later this month, Iran’s petroleum minister said.
Bijan Zangeneh said an agreement, signed last month in Paris between National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Total, will take effect on February 16.
"As per the contract signed between NIOC and Total, this French company will buy 160,000 b/d of Iranian crude oil," the minister said.
He added that Total has shown willingness to develop Iran’s giant South Azadegan oil field, shared with neighboring Iraq, and to revive Iran LNG project for the production of super cooled gas.
"Iran plans to provide this French company with necessary data for studies," said Zangeneh.
Iran discovered Azadegan oil field in 1999 in what was the country’s biggest oil find in decades. The country accordingly teamed up with Japan’s Inpex to push the project toward development. However, the Japanese company quit the project as a result of US sanctions against Iran.
The NIOC later divided the project into South Azadegan and North Azadegan and both were awarded to China’s CNPC when Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013) was in office.
South Azadegan is believed to hold 33.2 billion barrels of oil in place, 5.2 billion barrels of which are recoverable.
Eni, Saras want Iran oil
Zangeneh also said that Italy’s giant Eni is to send a delegation in Tehran soon to sign contracts for buying Iran’s oil and developing an oil field in Iran.
He said Eni hopes to buy 100,000 b/d of crude oil from Iran, adding that Italy’s refiner Saras wants 60,000 b/d to 70,000 b/d of Iran’s crude.
Zangeneh said the lifting of sanctions on Iran has boosted the country’s crude oil exports to Europe.
"The only European destination for Iran’s crude oil during (years of) sanctions was Turkey that used to buy 100,000 b/d of oil from Iran. With current deals, this amount will increase to more than 300,000 b/d," said the minister.
Greece’s main oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum recently reached an agreement with Iran for importing crude oil.
The Greek refiner was a major buyer of Iranian crude, which accounted for about 20% of its annual crude oil imports before sanctions were slapped on Iran in 2011.
Under the agreement, HELPE will start buying oil from Iran immediately and will also settle its nearly $550-600 million outstanding debt to NIOC.
On January 16, Iran’s landmark nuclear deal with six world powers, reached last July, went into effect, leading to the lifting of US, UN and European sanctions on the country.
Iran is expected to add 500,000 b/d to its oil exports after the sanctions are lifted. It will continue to raise exports to 1 mb/d six months after.