Iran Qualifies CNPC to Total for Bidding on Energy Projects

(Bloomberg) -- Iran qualified 29 international oil companies to bid in tenders for crude and natural gas development projects as the Persian Gulf state seeks investment in energy.

China National Petroleum Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA are among the companies that will be invited to bid in tenders, according to a list published Monday on the website of National Iranian Oil Co. Total, along with Lukoil PJSC and the oil unit of Gazprom PJSC, are some of the companies on the list that have already signed preliminary agreements with Iran to study oil fields for potential future development.

Iran Qualifies CNPC to Total for Bidding on Energy Projects

State producer NIOC will hold its first tender in late January to seek partners for a project to develop the South Azadegan oil field, the Iranian Students News Agency reported Tuesday, citing the company’s Managing Director Ali Kardor. Shell and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. both signed preliminary agreements last month to conduct development studies at Azadegan and other oil fields.

Iran aims to attract more than $100 billion in foreign investment to speed growth in its energy industry after sanctions cut international companies’ involvement in developing the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves. Since sanctions eased last January, the producer has doubled exports as crude prices rallied. Brent crude gained 52 percent last year and was at $58.10 a barrel at 2:02 p.m. in London.

The country boosted oil production last year by 870,000 barrels a day to 3.67 million by November, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the country has reached several initial agreements with international companies, it has yet to sign any concrete deals to boost crude production since Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh outlined more than 50 potential projects at a Tehran conference in November 2015. Zanganeh said at the time the country was targeting about 5.7 million barrels a day of crude and condensate production early in the next decade.

Companies from Italy, Spain, Japan and India also made the list. U.S. oil services provider Schlumberger Ltd. was among those identified, according to the NIOC website. U.S. sanctions legislation prevents companies based in that country from investing in Iran’s energy industry, while foreign subsidiaries of American entities are allowed to operate in the Persian Gulf country.