TEHRAN, December 16 (Financial Tribune)- Gazprom will provide the National Iranian Oil Company with the result of its technical surveys and development plans for three Iranian offshore gas fields in the Persian Gulf, namely North Pars, Kish and Farzad-A and Frazad-B gas fields by April 2018.
Alexei Miller, Gazprom's CEO, made the statement on the sidelines of a signing ceremony for a deal to cooperate in Iran's natural gas project, Shana reported.
Pointing to the importance of the deal, Miller noted that the two states held constructive talks and planned to take major steps to collaborate in gas ventures.
"Playing an active role in such development projects will give Gazprom a strong foothold in Iran’s gas industry," he added, noting that the company is still conducting surveys on the fields, yet it will deliver its master development plan as soon as it can.
According to the Gazprom chief, Russia and Iran, two countries with the largest natural gas reserves, can expand cooperation in wide-ranging areas, including gas trade, R&D and implementation of joint projects.
NIOC and Russia's Gazprom signed two memoranda of understanding in Tehran to join hands to tap into Iran's gas deposits on Wednesday.
The first agreement, described as a "gas collaboration roadmap", was signed by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Ali Kardor, the NIOC chief, Shana reported.
The second MoU, aimed at completing Iran's largest liquefied natural gas project known as "Iran LNG", was concluded by Miller and Nosrat Rahimi, the head of the board of directors at the Oil Industry Pension Funds.
Speaking to reporters at the signing ceremony, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the gas produced from the fields can be exported either by laying pipelines or constructing LNG plants.
According to the minister, close to $4 billion of investments are required to complete the Iran LNG project.
Iran LNG is reportedly an incomplete complex with the capacity to produce 10 million tons of LNG per annum.
The factory is more than halfway done with two storage tanks, a jetty and a power plant. Work on the plant hit a wall in 2012 when international sanctions stopped Iran from buying special liquefaction technology from German contractor Linde.
"The Moscow-based firm has six months to complete its technical survey on the LNG project and submit a financial proposal. Gazprom can play a role either as a shareholder or a financer," Zanganeh said, adding that cooperation between the two mega natural gas holders can definitely affect global gas markets. Zanganeh further said the two sides have not decided on the Russian firm's share yet, as further negotiations will be held to reach a final decision.
Energy experts believe Gazprom's participation in Iran's energy ventures can help the country further develop its gas grid not only to supply the domestic network, but also to deliver more fuel to petrochemical plants.
According to Hamidreza Araqi, managing director of National Iranian Gas Company, Iran's gas output is higher than its domestic demand and the country can boost exports by improving energy efficiency, using the expertise of Russian gas giants such as Gazprom.
Iran produces 800 million cubic meters of natural gas per day, nearly two-thirds of which come from the South Pars mega project that is being developed in 24 phases.