Iran seeks foreign partners

Iran seeks foreign partners

Nearly a year into the production-cut deal that brought together major OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zangeneh said there was no pressure on Iran to join the cuts. S&P Global Platts in the article No pressure on Iran to join OPEC output cuts: Zanganeh writes, that Iran was granted a small increase in production under the deal signed November 30, 2016. Output cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC producers were "working well," and compliance was at an acceptable level, the oil minister added.

Iran's output in August was 3.83 million b/d, and has averaged 3.780 million b/d over the first eight months since the deal came into effect in January, according to the latest S&P Global Platts OPEC survey released in September. This is 17,000 b/d below the country's official allocation of 3.797 million b/d.

The agreement requires OPEC and 10 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to cut a combined 1.8 million b/d in supplies through March to hasten the market's rebalancing. The full OPEC/non-OPEC coalition is set to meet again on November 30 in Vienna. Although there is a growing consensus on the need to continue the production cuts, at least until March, Zangeneh said that it was unclear how the producers planned to eventually exit from the deal and that it depended on a "collective discussion." "I cannot say, I cannot predict what will happen but it seems that all OPEC countries are eager to stabilize the situation for the benefit of the market," Zanganeh said.

Russian investment in Iran 

Iran has been actively seeking foreign partners to help boost its output as the country opened up its oil sector following the easing of international sanctions against it last year, while Russia is exploring options to garner commercial benefits from its close ties with the Islamic republic. Iran's oil ministry and state-owned National Iranian Oil Co., or NIOC, is also in discussion with Russia's Lukoil for a memorandum of understanding, covering exploration and studies at a number of Iranian oil fields. "We are not talking about signing a development contract now. It is studies," Zanganeh said. He also added that Gazprom Neft is working with Iran on three projects: Farzad B, Kish and Azar. The Russian company signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran's Oil Industries' Engineering & Construction in July to evaluate and study oil fields in Iran. This includes potential joint studies at the Azar field, which is part of Anaran block near the border with Iraq. Gazprom Neft has also stated its interest in another Anaran field, Shangule.

Since last year, a number of MOUs have been signed between Russian companies and NIOC, but they are yet to turn into concrete agreements.