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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Yummy oil: At least 90 firms eye 17 new Iran's oil blocks

At least 90 firms eye 17 new Iran's oil blocks
Reuters - 10 February, 2007

A senior Iranian oil official said yesterday that 90 foreign firms had shown
an interest in 17 new onshore and offshore blocks that were offered to
investors earlier this month, state radio reported.

Iran, the world's fourth biggest oil exporter, offered the blocks for oil
and gas exploration at a meeting in Vienna.

The Islamic Republic, which analysts say needs foreign technology to improve
production in its fields, had said it hoped to attract international
investment of at least 460m euros ($ 599m) in the blocks.

"The 17 new blocks that have been presented in the recent Vienna meeting
have been welcomed by 90 foreign companies for investment," the head of the
National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Gholamhossein Nozari, was quoted as
saying by state radio.

The United States has frowned on deals that Asian and European oil companies
have signed with Iran as it seeks to punish Tehran for working on nuclear
enrichment, which Washington says is aimed at producing an atomic bomb.

Analysts say international companies have delayed investment decisions as
they wait to see how the situation develops.

A US official has said Washington would examine a multi-billion dollar
preliminary deal signed in January by Royal Dutch Shell and Spain's Repsol
to develop gas fields and export facilities in Iran.

The US has sanctions in place to punish foreign companies that invest more
than $ 20m a year in Iran's energy sectory, but has never enforced them.
Nozari has previously said NIOC was aiming to boost its crude output
capacity to 5.3 million barrels per day by 2015 from around 4.2 million bpd

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