TEHRAN, July 8 (AFP) - The Italian company ENI is about to sign a 2.5 billion dollar contract with Iran to develop gas reserves in the Gulf, one of the country's largest gas agreements, an Iranian official has announced.
The agreement is due be signed in about two weeks between ENI and the Iranian government and the Iranian firm Petro-Pars, Saturday's edition of the state-run daily Iran quoted the official as saying.
The contract will cover development of five zones of the giant gas reserves in the southern Pars province some 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the Iranian coast near Qatar. The project will allow Iran to make a significant increase in its natural gas production, the official said.
The French firm Total is currently developing two zones in southern Pars. The agreement with ENI would leave just one more outstanding.
Total signed a contract in July 1995 that made it Iran's first foreign oil partner since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iran in January gave the go-ahead for major work to build a terminal in the Gulf port of Asaluyeh to process natural gas from the Pars field.
The terminal, which will be the largest in the region, is being constructed by Total and the South Korean firm Hyundai.
Iran has the second largest gas reserves in the world after Russia, estimated at 20 trillion cubic metres (700 trillion cubic feet).
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )