The Italian oil group ENI and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) on Saturday, June 30, signed a contract to develop the Darkhoein oilfield in southwestern Iran in a project expected to cost nearly $1 billion.
The contract was signed in the presence of Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangheneh and ENI chief executive Eni CEO Vittorio Mincato. The Italian firm has committed to investing $548 million, with $180 million comiing in the first phase in four years. The total cost of the project to produce 160,000 barrels of crude per day in 65 months, is estimated to be $920 million.
Darkhoein is located in Khuzistan province, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Abadan. Discovered in 1964, it has reserves estimated to be around 2.5 billion barrels but is currently producing only some 4,000 barrels a day (bpd).
That could reach 100,000 bpd in the first phase of development, Iranian oil officials have said.
Iran is the second largest exporter in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, at 3.6 million bpd. The Iranian-Italian "buy back" contract -- through which the investor is paid from eventual oil revenues -- includes clauses not used in other contracts between Iran and foreign companies on guarantees against risks, failure of one of the partners and transfer of technology.
Zangheneh told journalists after the signing that with this contract ENI has become "one the major partners" of Iran in the oil sector, the second behind France's TotalFinaElf.
The Italian firm has been in Iran since 1954 and is already involved in the oil and gas sectors, invested $1.7 billion in them in 2000. — (AFP)
© Agence France Presse
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