Iran to sign oil, gas deals with Shell
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Iran to sign oil, gas deals with Shell

Billion-dollar expansion projects for offshore oil, gas fields announced as Tehran works to expand its energy sector

An Iranian oil worker rides his bicycle near an oil refinery south of the capital, Tehran, December 22, 2014. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
An Iranian oil worker rides his bicycle near an oil refinery south of the capital, Tehran, December 22, 2014. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN — Iran was set to sign a preliminary agreement with Shell Oil on Wednesday to develop major oil and gas fields as it seeks to boost its output, an oil official said.

The deals include a $10-12 billion expansion of the South Azadegan oil field and another project at the Yadavaran oil field, both in southwestern Iran, as well as an offshore gas field near Kish Island in the Gulf.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had said that France’s Total would also be involved in the deal alongside the Anglo-Dutch giant, but later retracted that comment.

The agreements are only preliminary and must be finalized in the coming months, the official said.

The decision to award major energy projects to foreign firms caused some controversy when the tenders were first announced in October.

A senior commander in the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards, which has extensive economic interests in the energy sector, said it was a “disgrace” for Iranian firms to be subordinated to foreigners in the proposed contracts.

But the oil ministry says foreign capital and know-how are vital to expanding the country’s energy sector.

Last month, Total was awarded a $4.8 billion (€4.3 billion) contract to develop an offshore gas field at South Pars — the first deal of its kind since international sanctions were lifted in January under a nuclear deal with world powers.

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