The National Iranian Oil Company has added 5 more international oil companies in its list of prequalified companies for Iran's oil and gas upstream projects, just days before the June 19 deadline for the Azadegan oil field tender consortia, Platts reported on June 19, 2017.
NIOC has added Russia's Gazprom Neft, Rosneft, Tatneft and Zarubezhneft and Azerbaijan's state-owned Socar, taking its list of prequalified companies to a total of 34, according to a list posted on its website.
Russia now has 6 companies with Gazprom and Lukoil in the list, the single largest number of prequalified companies for Iran's upstream projects, followed by 5 companies from Japan.
Officials at Russian companies have said they are potentially interested in projects in Iran but the companies are awaiting for a final contract to evaluate the economics and decide whether they are to take part in them and in which form, individually or via consortia.
NIOC's updated prequalified list of companies comes as Tehran is gearing up for the biggest test of interest in the country's oil sector in years, as major international oil companies prepare to bid for the right to develop the Azadegan oil field, one of its most prized assets.
The prequalified oil companies have been asked to provide details of their planned consortium partners by Monday, as part of NIOC's planned tender to develop the giant onshore Azadegan oil field, a source familiar with the matter said last week.
NIOC has also asked prequalified companies to seek its approval if they are selecting partners that have not been prequalified for Iran's upstream bidding rounds, the source said.
The tender will be Iran's 1st bidding round for a major oil field, having previously relied on bilateral negotiations to award development contracts.
It is also the 1st to be launched under Iran's much delayed new model contract, the Iran Petroleum Contract, which is yet to be published.
This replaces the old buyback contract, which failed to attract sufficient investor interest due to its tough terms.