The governments of Japan and the Islamic Republic of Iran recently reached a basic agreement under which Japan will acquire preferential rights to operate and develop an Iranian oil field, one of the largest in the Middle East, Japanese government sources disclosed.
The agreement will be consummated by Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who will accompany Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to Japan on an upcoming visit, and by International Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma. Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Khatami will confirm the accord the following day, Japan Daily reported.
With a formal contract expected to be signed in 2001, the potential contract will represent the largest oil-field development project ever undertaken by Japan.
The basic agreement provides the Japanese government and a consortium, preferential rights to develop and operate the Azadegan oil field, which was heralded by Iran in September 1999 as its biggest domestic oil field.
The oil field, situated near the border with Iraq, is said to have confirmed oil reserves of more than 26 billion barrels. The Azadegan field, located near Ahvaz in Khuzestan province, covers a total area of 520 square kilometers (208 square miles).
Iranian sources revealed that it would take several years before crude oil production commences in the field. It is expected to produce a daily output of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels - more than double Arabian Oil's daily import volume of approximately 150,000 barrels.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar-Zangheneh said in 1999 upon discovery of the oil field, that, “... the find is the most important in 35 years."
Iran's proven oil reserves amount to 90 billion barrels, the third largest in the world. It is the second biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, with a current output of 3.7 million barrels per day, of which 2.4 million are exported. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
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