Iran to Put 14 New Oil, Gas Fields for Tender

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), Aug. 31, 2009

Iran is to put 14 new oil or gas fields for tender in the near future, an Iranian news agency said Saturday, amidst increased uncertainty for the country's oil industry.

The semi-official agency Shana said the Iran Central Oilfields Co. will awards contracts for six natural gas fields -- requiring $3.6 billion of investment -- and eight oil fields. They include the Koohmond gas field, with a capacity of 24.8 million cubic meters a day, and an expected required investment of $1.65 billion.

Separately, Iranian student news agency Mehr reported Sunday that the third phase of the Abadan Oil Refinery's development plan is 80% complete and will come on-stream by mid-March 2010. Under the upgrading plans, the refinery's gasoline output capacity will rise to 16 million barrels per day from the current figure of 10 million barrels.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said earlier he wanted to develop Iran's refining sector, which has been hindered by international sanctions. The news come amidst rising uncertainties for the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries as it faces its deepest crisis in 20 years following Ahmadinejad's contested reelection.

Sunday, Iranian lawmakers criticized his nomination of current Commerce Minister Massoud Mirkazemi as new oil minister, to replace Gholam-Hossein Nozari.

Iran also faces the risk of increased sanctions of its oil and gas sector with a proposed U.S. bill that would put pressure on countries selling refined products to Iran.

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