TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran expects to complete its assessment of technical bids for phases 9-12 of its giant South Pars gas field by the end of May, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Saturday, May 5.
Iran had been expected to announce the award of the deal in March, but Zanganeh told Reuters that parliament had eased the pressure for an early decision. Parliament extended its approval for “so-called buy” financing in February, which took the pressure off Tehran to finalize the deals by the end of the Iranian year in March.
“This tender we are discussing. We are studying the proposals now, and I think at the end of May we will determine the technical ranking of the participants,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of a petrochemical conference in Tehran.
Once the technical rankings had been drawn up, he said financial proposals would be examined and a winner was likely to be announced two or three months after that.
An Iranian official has said 20 firms are still in the race to develop phases 9-12 of the South Pars field, which is estimated to hold at least 350 trillion cubic feet (10 trillion cu metres) of gas.
The official said “the contract would be awarded on Iran standard buy-back terms -- where foreign investors are compensated in output -- or through direct financing.” “Contracts worth more than $7 billion have already been sealed for the first eight of South Pars; 25 phases, but there have been delays in implementation.”
Zanganeh said negotiations were continuing for several other buy-back oil deals, including Cheshmeh Kosh and Darkhovin. He also said talks had started with foreign firms about the Bangestan oil field. The main bidders for the project are Royal Dutch/Shell, ENI, TotalFinaElf, and BP Amoco.
Diplomats in Tehran said they did not expect swift decisions on any of the buy-back deals ahead of Iran’s presidential elections on June 8.
© Reuters 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)