Iran General NewsJapan's INPEX has lost Azadegan field-Iran official

Japan’s INPEX has lost Azadegan field-Iran official

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Reuters: A senior Iranian oil official said on Wednesday that Japan’s INPEX Holdings Inc (1605.T: Quote, NEWS, Research) had lost the chance to develop a major oifield in Iran after last ditch talks did not reach a deal, Iran’s Fars news agency said. TEHRAN, Oct 4 (Reuters) – A senior Iranian oil official said on Wednesday that Japan’s INPEX Holdings Inc (1605.T: Quote, NEWS, Research) had lost the chance to develop a major oifield in Iran after last ditch talks did not reach a deal, Iran’s Fars news agency said.

INPEX, in which Japan’s government is a major shareholder, had the rights to develop Azadegan field but talks stalled after an initial deal was signed in 2004. Iran said on Monday Japan had one or two days to commit to the project.

“Japan’s INPEX lost the opportunity to develop Azadegan oilfield,” Gholamhossein Nozari, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), was quoted as saying.

The field is tipped as one of the largest untapped oil reserves in the world.

“Talks continued today with the Japanese side. Various options were discussed. But the final talks did not reach a result,” Nozari said, without giving a reason.

The talks have previously faltered over how to value the deal, including over the price of steel which would be used in the project and the extent to which the borderland field has been safely cleared of mines from the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

“Having a tender or giving the work to Iranian companies are the options that we are pursueing,” Nozari said.

Iran has previously threatened to offer the project to Russian, Chinese and Iranian companies.

Some Iranian oil firms have shown their interest in developing the field and had submitted their plans to the Oil Ministry, Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The companies plan to develop the first phase of the field by using the country’s oil dollar reserves, it said.

“Iran with its 100-year history in the oil industry has the science and technology to develop the field,” managing-director of National Iranian South Oil Company Seifollah Jashnsaz had told Mehr earlier on Wednesday.

Japanese Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari had previously said talks between Iran and Japan to develop the field, a project said to be worth $2 billion when the initial deal was reached, appeared to be hitting a dead-end.

But he had said the negotiations should continue past the end of September deadline as the Azadegan project was strategically important for Japan’s energy security.

A contract to develop the southwestern field for INPEX could have put the project in Washington’s line of fire, which threatens sanctions against firms which invest in Iran.

The Japanese vice trade minister said on Monday Japan would comply with the U.N Security Council if it included Azadegan oil field in economic sanctions against Tehran, which missed the world body’s August deadline to halt uranium enrichment.

Iran is embroiled in a nuclear standoff with the West, which accuses Tehran of seeking to build atomic bombs. Iran dismisses the charge.

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