Iran says it has told the Chinese companies that have developed the initial phases of two major oil fields that they will have to compete with global energy giants for the future phases of the projects.
The announcement was made by Gholam-Reza Manouchehri, the deputy for development and engineering affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
Manouchehri told Iran’s IRNA news agency that the NIOC had informed Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) that they would have to participate in tenders for further development of Yadavaran and North Azadegan oil fields.
He added that the Chinese companies had agreed with the proposal.
Based on the contracts with CNPC and Sinopec, they were to be prioritized in talks over the next phases of North Azadegan and Yadavaran, IRNA wrote.
However, it added, it appears that talks with the two have failed and they will therefore need to compete with others in tenders over the next phases of the projects.
Sinopec signed a deal with NIOC in 2007 worth $2 billion to produce 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) in Yadavaran. Later in 2009, CNPC signed a similar $2-billion deal with NIOC to produce 75,000 bpd of oil at North Azadegan.
IRNA further emphasized in its report that there were criticisms against the performance of both companies in the projects.
In May 2014, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh made it clear that he was not satisfied with CNPC’s work.
The company was later kicked out of a project to develop Phase 11 of South Pars gas field – a project it had been awarded simultaneously with North Azadegan. This was seen by oil industrialists in Iran as a serious sign of dissatisfaction with the company’s performance in oil and gas projects – what later spread to include Sinopec, as well.