July 15, 2008

Iran, Russia Sign Energy Cooperation Agreement

Iran, Russia sign energy cooperation agreement

TEHRAN, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The National Iranian Oil Company ( NIOC) and Russian gas monopoly Gazprom signed an agreement to cooperate on development of Iran's oil and gas fields, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

NIOC Managing Director Seifollah Jashnsaz and head of Board of Directors of Gazprom Alexei Miller signed the agreement on Sunday during an official ceremony attended by Iranian Oil Minister Gholam- Hossein Nozari, the IRNA said.

Based on the agreement, a joint company would be set up by the two countries for cooperation in the oil and gas fields, including in the development of Iran's North Azadegan oil field, part of the large Azadegan field in southwestern Iran.

Construction of oil and gas processing and transport facilities inside Iran are among the subjects included in the agreement, according to the IRNA.

The agreement also included possible participation of Gazprom in a planned peace pipeline that would deliver Iranian gas to India and Pakistan.

Miller also met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran on Sunday.

"Gazprom will be a cooperative partner for the Islamic Republic of Iran," state television quoted Miller as telling President Ahmadinejad in the meeting.

The Iranian television also said the Russian gas giant will participate "in big oil and gas projects in South and North Pars, Azadegan and the Caspian Sea fields."

Azadegan is Iran's biggest onshore oil field with an estimated 42 billion barrels of crude oil in place.

The South Pars field in the Gulf has around 14 trillion cubic meters of gas, which accounts for about 8 percent of the world gas reserves.

Iran has the world's second largest proven oil reserves and is the number four crude producer and the second in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

It also has the second biggest proven global gas reserves after Russia but so far has played only a minor role in the gas export market.

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