Iran General NewsQatar's National Bank to finance Iran oil field development

Qatar’s National Bank to finance Iran oil field development

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ImageReuters: Iran said on Saturday Qatar's National Bank (QNB) will finance development of the country's Esfandiar oil field, Oil Ministry website SHANA quoted a senior official as saying.
ImageTEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said on Saturday Qatar's National Bank (QNB) will finance development of the country's Esfandiar oil field, Oil Ministry website SHANA quoted a senior official as saying.

"The Qatar's National Bank will invest 400 million euro … to finance developing Iran's Esfandiar offshore oil field," head of financial office of Iran's Offshore Company Hossein Jafari was quoted as saying.

In 2002, Iran's Oil Ministry signed a $585 million buy-back contract with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) subsidiary PetroIran to develop the Foroozan-Esfandiar offshore oilfields.

Esfandiar is an extension of the Lulu field in the Saudi-Kuwait Neutral zone. Production in the fields, shared by Iran and Saudi Arabia has tailed off in recent years.

The officials at NIOC and the Iranian Offshore Oil Company were not immediately available to comment on the report.

Iran, the world's fifth-largest crude exporter, has struggled for years to develop its oil and gas reserves and now has to contend with an international lack of credit, as well as problems specific to Iran, which is under international sanctions because of its disputed nuclear program.

Western oil firms, facing sanctions and pressure from the U.S., have already put new investment in Iran on hold.

Asian firms, less susceptible to Western political pressure, have signed numerous memorandums of understanding for oil and gas projects, many of which have yet to be finalized.

Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said last month Iran needed foreign investment to develop its oil and gas sector.

"According to our regulations, … 85 percent of necessary investment should be provided by the investors, but … the Qatar's National Bank provides the whole fund," Jafari said.

Frustration is mounting for the foreign oil companies chasing upstream deals in Iran, where progress has been slowed by a combination of political infighting, tougher investment terms and international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities.

(Writing by Reza Derakhshi; editing by Ron Askew)

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