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Iran Offers 50 Oil and Gas Fields to Foreign Bidders

  • Associated Press

FILE - A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005.

FILE - A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005.

Iran's national oil company said Monday that it has offered 50 oil and gas fields to international bidders, the first time it has done so since last year's landmark nuclear deal with world powers.

Also Monday, the country's deputy oil minister welcomed a preliminary agreement by OPEC nations to limit output to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels per day. The deal by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was reached in late September, with the aim reducing a global glut that has depressed oil prices for over two years.

The deputy minister, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, told reporters in Tehran that the agreement was "small step, but in the right direction.''

Iran has been trying to restore its oil industry since emerging from international sanctions over its nuclear program earlier this year. The country, with an oil output of 3.85 million barrels per day, initially said it would only consider a ceiling after it reaches 4 million barrels per day, its pre-sanctions level.

Meanwhile, Iran's Oil Ministry announced Sunday it will invite foreign companies to bid for oil and gas projects for the first time. On Monday, the ministry released details, saying this would include 29 oil fields and 21 gas fields.

The ministry has said foreign companies should submit their applications by Nov. 19, and that successful companies would be announced on Dec. 7.

Iran had previously said that priority for exploration and production for foreign companies would be given to neighboring countries with which it shares border fields. The country has 28 joint offshore and onshore gas and oil fields with those countries.

Iran hopes to attract more than $150 billion foreign investment in its oil, gas and petrochemical industry by 2020. It has already upgraded its model for oil contracts, allowing for a potential full recovery of costs over almost two decades. Earlier this month, Iran signed the first such contract with a local oil company.

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