Sunday, December 17, 2017   13:15:05
Iran, Russia sign Caspian oil exploration contracts

TEHRAN (NIOC) _ Iran has signed two agreements with Russia’s Lukoil to jointly look for hydrocarbon reserves in the southern parts of the Caspian Sea – a groundbreaking move that could have significant economic as well as political outcomes for both Tehran and Moscow.

The agreements were signed during a visit to Moscow by Iran’s Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh and followed, as the domestic media reported, “several months of negotiations”.  No details regarding the documents have been publicized.  
This would be the first time for Iran and Russia to cooperate over an energy-related project in the Caspian Sea.
Also, the agreements are significant given that Iran and other littoral states of the Sea – Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – are yet to determine its maritime and seabed boundaries.  
Iran has already discovered an oil field – Sardar-e Jangal - in the southern parts of the Caspian Sea.  
Sardar-e-Jangal field contains an estimated 1.4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas in-place and some 500 million barrels of recoverable crude. Experts believe it could become Iran's first major oil/gas field development project in the Caspian Sea, as the country has already made progress in studying the field's geological structures and its reserves.
The Caspian region is one of the oldest oil-producing areas in the world and is an increasingly important source of global energy production. It holds an estimated 48 billion barrels of oil and more than 8 trillion cubic meters of natural gas in proven and probable reserves.
According to the US Energy Information Association, between 2000 and 2012, Turkmenistan produced more than 70 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the Caspian basin, followed by Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan
Zangeneh arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to attend the 19th ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). 
The 12 main members of the forum are Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates.
Countries like the Netherlands, Norway, Iraq, Oman, Peru and Azerbaijan Republic are observer members of the forum.



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