Iran sets deadline to Chinese contractor

A Chinese oil tanker

TEHRAN, March 12 (MNA) – Iran’s oil minister has said Iran and Oman have signed a gas export agreement, says Chinese contractor has received a 20-day deadline.

Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told Mehr News that during president’s visit to Masqat, gas negotiations had been in the agenda and predicted that a ‘binding’ agreement between Iran and Oman would be signed in natural gas export to this Sultanate, believing that the agreement should be binding for both sides.

He also demanded, in a directive, that preliminary studies of Iran-Oman gas pipeline construction project be conducted and the contractor be determined. In line with the directive by the minister, an Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC) contractor has been assigned with the studies of construction of offshore pipelines and facilities necessary for gas transfer from Iran’s fields such as Kish to Oman via Persian Gulf underwater.

Last September during a visit by Sultan Qaboos to Tehran, Zanganeh and his Omani counterpart Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhy had negotiated in a new round of gas talks between Iran and Oman in Saadabad Palace.

The minister had cited ‘Iran’s entry to gas retail markets’ as a motive behind gas exports to Oman, believing that “it provide us with opportunity to provide gas to other countries especially in Asia.”

Oman had demanded 2b cubic feet gas per day from Iran to supply its LNG and other industries with the feed; however, the negotiations to expand Kish gas field had little progress, since both countries could not decide on a single gas price formula.

The Kish gas transfer project to Oman includes a 200-Km pipeline to be placed submarine. The first phase of the project will supply 1b cubic feet and other phases would add another 2b cubic feet of natural gas.

Asked by Mehr News about the latest situation of Chinese contractor CNPC in developing South Azadegan field, Zanganeh told that the Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC) was conducting negotiations with Chinese company, and that within 20 days, the final decision would be made about expansion of the field.

About the possibility that the Chinese company is dismissed from the project, the minister told that everything would be possible.

Chinese company the major contractor in expanding South Azadegan shared field had reportedly delayed the expansion of the field for few years. Badrorreza Hosseinnejad, the managing director of PEDEC had recently told about the latest advancements in South Azadegan shared field expansion that “from 185 oil wells projected to be complete in the first phase, only 7 wells had been operated.”

He also added that Chinese contractor had not been committed to its obligations to install 25 oil platforms according the agreements signed, and it had only installed 5 platforms.

However, he said that the first productions from South Azadegan shared fields was started in the previous government when by the joint effort of National Drilling and South Oil companies Iran had produced 50000 barrels of crude per day.

With frequent delays by Chinese contractor in a meeting with president, Zanganeh criticized the ‘undesirable’ conditions of the Chinese contractor conduct in the project and issued necessary warnings to dismiss the contractor.

By Mehr News Agency


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