Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Iran, Citing Delays, Snubs Gazprom in Major Oil Field

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has "excluded" Gazprom from a major oil field project, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported Monday, in the latest snub to foreign investors that Tehran feels are not fulfilling their promises.

But other reports suggest that Iran is still seeking major investments from abroad, as well as seeking cash through a sell-off of its refineries.

"After several ultimatums and delays by Russia's Gazprom, this big global gas producing company has been excluded from the development plan of the Azar joint oil field," the National Iranian Oil Company said in a statement carried by Mehr.

The Russian energy giant had not actually signed a contract to develop the on-shore field on the border with Iraq, where it is known as Badrah, but Iranian media reported in March 2010 that it was about to do so. Mehr said talks had broken down by March this year.

"Gazprom was put out of the negotiations about the development of the Azar oil field six months ago, and any request by Gazprom to get back into the oil field's development would require [new] examination and evaluation," Hamid Karimi, an oil official overseeing the development of the field, was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

The comments by Iranian officials about the breakdown of talks with Gazprom come a few weeks after Iran's new oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, took office, saying Iran had no need for foreign investment in its vital oil and gas industries.

With the withdrawal of Western oil companies due to tighter U.S. and European Union sanctions, analysts had forecast a bigger role for other players, but there have been few signs of increased investment and Qasemi has said they are not needed.

Tehran has told the China National Petroleum Corporation it will be replaced by domestic companies if it does not step up work on phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field.

But the English-language Tehran Times reported Monday that Iran and China would invest $12 billion over the next 10 years to develop the Azadegan oil field, also on the Iraqi border.

In another sign that Iran is seeking funding from outside government coffers, an official has announced plans to sell off oil refineries, with Iranian and international investors being invited to buy shares.

"Seven of the country's nine oil refineries will be ceded to the private sector by the end of the current Iranian year [March 19, 2012]," Ali Reza Zeighami, managing director of the National Iranian Refining and Oil Products Distribution Company, told an oil ministry web site.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more