The selected firms include Total, Shell, Eni, Gazprom, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Inpex, South Korea’s KOGAS, Lukoil, Maersk, Japan Petroleum Exploration, Mitsui, OMV, Mitsubishi and Malaysia’s Petronas.

NIOC was reported by Fars News Agency as saying: "The NIOC is to run several rounds of tender for a group of Iranian oil and gas E&P projects; to this end, it has invited competent and qualified foreign E&P companies to fill up qualification assessment lists.”

Other selected firms include CEPSA Spain, CNOOC International, CNPW, Norway’s DNO, Eni, Itochu, ONGC Videsh, Perenco, Pertamina, PGNiG, Plus Petrol, POSCO DAEWOO, PTTEP, Schlumberger, Shell, Sinopec International (SIPC), TOTAL and Wintershall.

NIOC deputy managing director Gholamreza Manouchehri said that several firms are seeking to cooperate with each other for the development of the Yadavarn and Azadegan oilfields.

Manouchehri added: "The Chinese firms, France’s Total and UK’s Shell are eager to develop West Karoun joint oilfields.”

The first tender round for the development of the South Azadegan oil field is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2017.

The NIOC has already signed memorandum of understandings (MoUs) or confidentiality agreements with firms including Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Russia’s Russneft and Inpex to undertake study phase of South Azadegan developmental project.

NIOC said that the Iran is planning to award new projects to the qualified companies through a new format of oil sector contracts.

The country plans to begin crude oil production from South Yaran oil field by March 2017. The field will have capacity of 10,000b/d of output.

According to estimates, the Yaran oilfield, which is divided into South and North, holds 2 billion barrels of in-situ crude oil reserves.

Crude oil production from North Azadegan and North Yaran oilfields has already commenced in November 2016.

Image: Iran intends to boost its oil and gas production capacity. Photo: courtesy of suwatpo/