Iran oil ministry reaches fundamental agreements with India over gas field

Tehran, Iran, April 11

By Dalga Khatinoglu, Khalid kazimov - Trend:

Tehran and Delhi have reached fundamental agreements on developing Farzad B gas field during Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan's recent visit to the Islamic Republic.

Jafar Pourfarjoudi, spokesperson of Iran's Oil Ministry, told Trend April 11 that during the talks the sides have discussed a time table for the project as well as the continuation of cooperation for the development of the gas field.

The initial agreement for exploration and the development of Farzad B gas field was signed with a consortium comprising of three Indian governmental companies in 2000.

However, the contract was realized only in exploration part and no measure has been taken regarding the development of the field.

It is estimated that the development of the project will cost about $5 billion.

"So far, the sides have only reached an agreement for cooperation on the issue and it is expected to hold further talks on the details and the framework of the agreement in future," Pourfarjoudi said.

Dharmendra Pradhan paid an official visit to Tehran about two days ago where Tehran and Delhi signed a document on cooperation on the development of Farzad B field.

According to estimations, Farzad B gas field contains over 350 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 212 million barrels of condensate.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has announced that the contract for the development of Farzad B will be under sole source contract.

A consortium led by India's ONGC Videsh in 2008 discovered the Binaloud oil field off the Farsi offshore block in 2008. The consortium is now keen to seal a contract for developing the gas field.

over teh past decade, Tehran held talks with Delhi for exporting its gas to India through a pipeline crossing Pakistan but later India opted out of the project.

So far, the Indian side has proposed to construct a $4.5 billion seabed pipeline for supplying Iran's gas to India. They have also put forward a project for the construction of a LNG production unite in port city of Chabahar.

Following the Indian delegation's recent visit to Tehran media outlets suggested that Delhi is keen to invest $20 billion in Chabahar. According to the media reports some parts of the figure is expected to be invested in the construction of a petrochemical factory as well as a LNG unit in Chabahar.

Pourfarjoudi has said that the issue of exporting Iran's gas to India was discussed in the recent talks. According to Pourfarjoudi if India invests in Chabahar, the issue of exporting gas through sea-bed or LNG will be considered. However the sides have not agreed on the methods for exporting gas.

According to the official Iran also eyes purchasing refineries in India aimed at guaranteeing its oil exports.

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