The unveiling of a new contractual framework, otherwise known as the IPC, or the Iran (Integrated) Petroleum contract, took place through an international conference held on November 28th and 29th here in the Iranian capital, under the “Tehran Summit.”
As soon as the current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office over two years ago, the Iranian Petroleum Ministry, headed by the Minister himself Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, embarked on a process that would lead to an overall revision to the country’s oil and gas contracts; for which a special committee was set up.
Reasons for holding the Summit at this particular juncture in Iran are the promising prospects of a sense of broadening in Iran’s international engagement and presence among the larger community of nations which was ushered in following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and an agreement reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries.
As many as 250 corporate representatives and business delegates from 33 countries have attended the Tehran Summit, where on the 1st day major policies and strategic guidelines underpinning the new legal regime for Iranian petroleum contracts were discussed and put forward by Iranian authorities. The second day however, chiefly comprised introduction of some 50 new exploration & development projects, part of which were onshore, and partly offshore. Under the new formula, Iran will cede exploration, development and production operations on an oilfield in an “integrated fashion” and exclusively to major and reputable foreign contractors; who will be required to commit to optimal and sustainable production in the field and transfer of technology.
According to the BP Statistical Review of world energy in 2015, Iran’s proven Crude Oil reserves stand at almost 160 Billion barrels placing it in 4th place globally, After Venezuela, S. Arabia and Canada. Within the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) however, Iran stands 3rd, in holding the world’s biggest oil reserves. As far as Natural gas goes, the same BP source puts Iran at number 1 in the world, with almost 1,180 Trillion Cubic feet of proven reserves, followed by the Russian Federation and Qatar, in 2nd and 3rd place. Taken together and in aggregate, it can therefore be safely said, as of 2015, Iran holds the “biggest hydrocarbon reserves”, of anywhere, in the world.