Iran agreed in principle Tuesday to give Japan preferential negotiating rights to develop one of its largest oil fields, press reports said.
The agreement was reached here between Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who arrived here Tuesday accompanying Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, and his Japanese counterpart Takeo Hiranuma, the Jiji Press news agency and Japan Broadcasting Corp. reported.
An official in charge of the talks at the petroleum division of the Natural Resources and Energy Agency was not immediately available to confirm the reports.
The preferential deal allows a Japanese consortium to negotiate exclusively with Iran to acquire the developing and operating rights for the Azadegan oil field in southwestern Iran, one of the largest in the Middle East.
The field is said to have oil reserves of more than 26 billion barrells. It will be Japan's biggest oil development project.
The two ministers were expected to finalise the agreement when they meet again on Wednesday, the reports said.
Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Kazempour-Ardebili confirmed that talks over the project were being held "on the modalities of cooperation," Iranian state television reported. The Azadegan oil field is expected to produce 300,000 to 400,000 barrels a day, more than double the daily import volume of 150,000 barrels by Japan's biggest oil producer Arabian Oil Co. Ltd.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)