Iran-Russia contract over studies on Caspian Sea in final stages – deputy minister (Exclusive)

Tehran, Iran, July 4

By Kamyar Eghbalnejad, A. Shirazi - Trend:

A major contract between the Geological Survey Organization and Rosgeologia, Russian State Geological Company, to carry out studies on the southern parts of the Caspian Sea is in its final stages, Iranian deputy industry minister said.

“The contract between Iran’s Geological Survey Organization and Rosgeologia to study the southern parts of the Caspian Sea is getting finalized,” Razieh Lak told Trend on July 4.

Studies on marine geophysics layers as well as exploration and identification of geological status of the Caspian sub-basin and its beaches will be carried out by the Russian company once the contract is finalized, she added.

The second phase of the deal will include aerial geophysical studies of entire Iran, Lak further said.

“The Russian side has vowed to use a vessel with all marine equipment and carryout geological studies along with Iranian experts,” she said.

She went on to add that Iran has asked the Russian side not to move its vessel and equipment after the project is finished due to future plans for more studies on the inland sea.

Noting that the finance of the project will be supplied by the revenues of barter deals between Iran and Russia, the Iranian deputy minister said the Russian holding will have no claim on project.

Additionally, Rosgeologia will carry out studies on gas hydrates at the Caspian Sea as the gas could be a good source of energy in the future, Lak said.

“No one still knows if there could be potential sources of gas hydrates at the sea as no studies have yet been conducted there”.

There are some obstacles in the way of the finalization of the contract like both sides’ differences over expenses and even the issue of gas hydrates, Lak concluded.

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area and is variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea.

Last year, top diplomats from Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed on details of a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

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