India says Iran gave it giant gas field

An Indian company claims it has been given assurances by Iranian energy officials to be allowed back to a large gas field in the Persian Gulf. 

An Indian delegation visited Tehran in July to vie for the Farzad-B gas field which is estimated to hold 12.8 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in the offshore Farsi block.

A consortium of three Indian companies discovered the field in 2008, winning the right to its development. But Iran had to put Farzad-B in the list of projects for tender last year after the Indians dragged their feet on its development.

Last month’s conclusion of nuclear talks between Iran and the West and a rash of interest shown by international energy companies in fresh business in the Islamic Republic has prompted the Indians to press Tehran for the field.

Oil India Ltd business development director Biswajit Roy, who visited Tehran in the last week of July with the delegation, says Iranian Petroleum Ministry officials “verbally” told them that Farzad-B was available to the Indians.

“They want us to submit a development plan which OVL (ONGC Videsh Ltd) as the leader of the consortium is working on,” he said.

Roy said Iranian officials also offered them the draft Iran Oil Contract (IPC) which he described a mix of production sharing and service contract.

Oil India Ltd business development director Biswajit Roy.

Iran will introduce the new contract to a London conference planned for December as the country seeks to boost recovery from its fields with the help of foreign companies.

IPC is replacing buyback deals which required the host government to pay the contractor an agreed price for all volumes of hydrocarbons it produced.

Under the IPC, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will set up joint ventures for crude oil and gas production with international companies which will be paid with a share of the output.

Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the delegation also discussed reviving a deal signed in 2005 to buy 5 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Iran.

Pradhan plans to visit Tehran at the head of a delegation. Indian media have said the country’s officials also seek to push for the revival of the $7-billion gas pipeline from Iran which has to cross Pakistan.

India dropped out of the massive project under US pressure but a recent opening in the business environment in Iran has prompted Indian leaders to make a fresh bid for the pipeline.

By Press TV