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Image courtesy of Royal Dutch Shell.

Royal Dutch Shell has signed a deal to explore future opportunities in Iran.

Shell told the Wall Street Journal that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Iranian Oil Company to explore “areas of potential cooperation” in Iran.

Details about the memorandum have not been disclosed yet.

A Shell spokesman told the Journal that the agreement is non-binding and does not contain an investment commitment.

The deal makes Shell the largest oil company to express interest in returning to Iran now that Western sanctions against the oil-rich company have been lifted.

Earlier this month, services firm Schlumberger signed a preliminary deal to collect data for an Iranian oil field.

The company told the Wall Street Journal that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the NIOC “for the non-disclosure of data required for a technical evaluation of a field development prospect.”

Schlumberger added that the agreement does not call for the execution oil field operation services and said it will comply with all laws and regulations.

Last month, France’s Total became the first major international oil firm to sign a development deal with Iran.

The deal covers the development of phase 11 of South Pars, the world’s largest gas field.

The South Pars 11 project (SP11) will have a production capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day, or 370,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The project’s first phase will consist of 30 wells and two well head platforms connected to existing onshore treatment facilities by two subsea pipelines.

 Total said the first phase of the development will cost an estimated $2 billion.
At a later stage, a second investment phase will be launched once that phase is required by reservoir conditions.

BP is reportedly exploring potential opportunities in Iran.

According to Reuters, BP has reportedly created a committee to explore potential business opportunities in Iran that will exclude American born CEO Bob Dudley.

Although Western sanctions against Iran have been lifted there are still rules prohibiting U.S. firms and citizens from investing in Iranian oil fields.