Iran to privatize northern oil exploration rights

Oil&Gas Materials 10 August 2009 07:34 (UTC +04:00)

The Iranian Privatization Organization has been given the rights to privatize 80 percent of the rights to explore oil in the country's northern sector and the Caspian Sea, Press TV reported.

"Prior to the flotation of the exploration shares on the [Tehran] Stock Exchange, the National Iranian Oil company (NIOC) has delegated the rights to sell 80 percent of this company [Northern Exploration Company] to the Privatization Organization, and the transfer committee can decide whether to offer the shares in one block or piecemeal," SHANA quoted Ali Kardar, the head of the Article 44 of NIOC, as saying.

'Article 44' refers to an article of the Iranian Constitution which has been interpreted as encouraging privatization by the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Kardar said that at present over 13 percent of exploration shares are on offer at the Stock Exchange.

Regarding the existing shareholder make-up of the Northern Exploration Company, Kardar said, "Besides the 10 percent of shares that have been passed to the Armed Forces Social Security Organization for settlement of debts, 5 percent has been given to the workers on a preferential basis and the other 5 percent to the company's managers."

He said that the flotation would be implemented "soon."