Japanese companies could return to a development project in the South Azadegan oilfield in southwest Iran, Kyodo News has quoted a senior Iranian energy official as saying.
The report comes as a high-level Japanese trade delegation is visiting Tehran to discuss revitalizing economic ties. Kyodo, citing the unnamed official at the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, did not give further details.
Japan’s state-owned Inpex Corp. withdrew from the South Azadegan development project in 2010 due to US pressures.
Azadegan is the world’s third largest oilfield with in-place reserves of about 33.2 billion barrels and recoverable resources of about 6 billion barrels.
Iran shares Azadegan with Iraq which started producing 210,000 barrels per day from the field in April 2014.
In 2009, the National Iranian Oil Company signed a $2.5 billion contract with the state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) but had to cancel it due to the Chinese side’s repeated delays.
CNPC was to produce 320,000 bpd of oil and 197 million cubic feet per day of gas within 52 months from South Azadegan and ultimately raise it to 600,000 bpd.
In June, an energy official said Iran had accelerated drilling of South Azadegan in order to catch up with its western neighbor in production.
Executives from 21 companies, including oil, gas and automotive industries, are accompanying Japan’s State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Daishiro Yamagiwa in his two-day visit to Iran.
They hope to grab a foothold in the world’s biggest market closed to outside business for years under sanctions.
Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said Sunday Japan can boost crude oil and natural gas imports from Iran to the levels before sanctions were stepped up against Tehran.
Zangeneh said he would welcome Japanese firms returning to development projects in Iranian oilfields.
Japan bought 30% of its oil from Iran before the sanctions slashed the imports to around 5%.
By Press TV