Iran is preparing to open up its oil and gas fields to foreign companies for the first time since international sanctions were lifted.

An Iranian official told Reuters that foreign firms will be able to bid for a contract to develop the South Azadegan oil field.

The official added that the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) hopes to offer tenders for 11 oil and gas fields.

According to the Associated Press, the Iranian Oil Ministry is accepting applications for the tender until November 19 and expects to announce a winner on December 7.

Iran has retooled its tender contracts to allow the potential full recovery of costs over the span of nearly 20 years, the AP added.

Speaking at an energy industry conference earlier this week, Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said that Iran will provide a more stable business environment than neighboring producers such as Iraq.

According to Reuters, Jahangiri said that even “if Iran’s contracts are not as attractive as others signed in neighboring countries, Iran has its own advantages.”

Iran hopes that the tenders will bring more foreign firms to the country as it looks to boost its oil production back up to pre-sanction levels.

Iranian officials said last year that the country hopes to attract as much as $185 billion in new energy projects by 2020.

Iran produced about 3.665 million barrels per day in September based on secondary sources collected by OPEC but is aiming to boost production past the 4 million bpd mark.

Iran, Libya and Nigeria may be exempt from cutting production as part of a proposed production freeze agreement between OPEC members.

The deal marks the group’s first production agreement since 2008.

OPEC members agreed earlier this month to trim the group’s overall production down to between 32.5 million to 33 million bpd.

OPEC reported an overall production level of 33.394 million bpd in September, based on secondary sources.

OPEC members hope to finalize how the cuts will be allocated during the group’s next official meeting on November 30.


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