There are dozens of companies that may qualify to develop Iranian oil and gas fields and a full list will be released in due course, a managing director said.
Sanctions pressures on Iran started easing in January after the United Nations confirmed compliance with a multilateral nuclear agreement brokered last year. European sanctions are easing faster than those enacted by the United States, though some sanctions that remain in place make it difficult to do business with Iran.
Ali Kardor, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Co., said to expect a list of international oil and gas companies eligible to play a role in the energy sector soon.
"Not all foreign companies active in oil industry can partake in Iran's tenders, so only those international companies that meet NIOC's standards will be chosen," he said Monday, offering few specifics.
Outside of companies with headquarters in the United States, Kardor said there are at least 35 companies that may be eligible to take part in auctions with his company.
Austrian energy company OMV was among the first to sign agreements with Iran in a step toward resuming formal operations in the oil-rich member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Royal Dutch Shell paid off its debt to its Iranian counterparts early this year, clearing the way for the company to resume its cooperation with Iran now that sanctions pressures are easing. A shipment of Iranian crude oil was sold to Shell in June.
In May, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Iran put its economic interests over nuclear ambitions with its multilateral agreements. Some non-nuclear sanctions remain in place nonetheless.
Iran has courted potential European and Asian trading partners as sanctions pressures ease. The NIOC director said to expect a full list of possible vendors within the next two months.
By Daniel J Graeber
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